UK Online Times-“Independence only brought crime and violence to Jamaica”

With the events of the past couple days we are bombarded by media reports, social media and passionate discussions with friends and family of events never before seen on such a scale in our country.

It is easy to get lost in it all, so many angles of a story sometimes dressed up in lies and sensationalism. It seems important to point fingers and identify who is to blame.

How some  so easily and readily advocate genocide or quick to point fingers of so called excesses of the security forces.

The open contempt for a group of people in a certain geographical location can be so easily and off offhandedly dismissed like nothing.

“just drop a bomb down there and level the place”

I can not help but ask myself if we are just naturally impious. The venomous opinion comes from some of the most unlikely characters in discussions and social sites like Facebook.

Then there are those who look at every opportunity to bash the security forces. It is a foregone conclusion than extra judicial killings and widespread corruption is a part of the apparatus.

The task to enter the so called “mother of all garrisons” is not by a long shot for the faint hearted, the criminal element was clearly preparing for “war” and even provoked an early start by attacking police stations and ambushing patrol cars.

How bold, how very bold. I have always maintained that they (criminals) miscalculated their odds, seriously. Then again maybe the Tivoli militia sorry gurellia force must have thought they could out gun a contingent of Jamaica Defense Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force with all the resources like helicopter gunships and even rumors  of possible satellite imagery from external sources.

Jamaicans have been thirsty for revenge a long time, many lives have been impacted directly and indirectly by thugs with no justice. The majority supports the resumption of hanging. The much debated crime bill is now a limping dog in parliament due to so called draconian measures which the opposition will not support, maybe 70 dead so far might quench the blood thirst a little.

It amazes me how people are walking about the streets of Tivoli even as guns bark.

Why?, I don’t understand.

There were even children running around the street as a convoy with security personnel entered the community. Spectator to the war zone? The war zone civilian spectator phenomenon is a most dangerous thing- if not a stupid thing.

I pray some of the atrocities claimed by residents are not true.

I sense mistrust between the security forces and the media, they don’t trust each other. Hence the lack of information or is it just a cover up. Why can’t their be embedded reporters with the security forces, without giving anything away of course and since there is nothing to hide.

What does it say about a people and a country when citizens speak to the cameras masking their faces out of fear the police.

Then there is the he said he said-species tuning on species. Without getting into any details.

At the start of this post I mention it is important that we do not loose sight of the big picture.

What is the big picture?. the question we must ask ourselves is what have we learned from this whole episode and how can we ensure it never happens again. The gems of opportunity in this whole episode are endless. My greatest fear is we will throw it all away and it is business as usual six months from now.

So while we “awe” at the body count and fume about police excesses we must realize the fixes should not be cosmetic but fundamental.

How will the government address campaign finance reform?,  How to break all links between politicians and guns?, How quickly can liable laws be changed to ensure shady characters may not hide behind them?

Looking at the integrity of all candidates for public office.

How do we adjust socially? How, what, When , Where…. the media should not become bored or short sighted, they should avoid being distracted to different stories, real is change required

So what has Jamaica done with independence?. The following was taken from British website with an interesting perspective on Jamaica in light of the international attention over the past few days.


Whatever happened to Jamaica, for so many years Britain’s pride and joy? Since independence in the early 1960s, the cocaine barons have taken over. In the capital of Kingston, where a state of emergency has been declared, armed gangs, police corruption and the indifference of politicians have created an inner city of turf wars and mayhem, where killings take place in daylight. With an annual murder rate of about 1,500 in a population of less than three million, Jamaica is one of the most violent countries in the world, on a level with South Africa and Colombia.

The reality, for most Jamaicans, is that independence from Britain in 1962 brought only disappointment. In downtown Kingston the poor no longer look respectfully to Britain as the “mother country”. Jamaicans, to their dismay, must now have a visa to enter Britain. The legislation, passed by Labour in 2003, was intended to stop Jamaicans entering the UK as drug couriers — Kingston is now the main transit point for cocaine in the West Indies. Yet most Jamaicans come to Britain to visit family and friends; the visa requirement is deeply offensive to them.

Instead, the US absorbs the majority of the 15,000 Jamaicans who migrate each year. Many of the drug kingpins in Brooklyn — “Little Jamaica” — had been apprenticed to ghetto dons in Kingston. American rap culture has made spectacular inroads. Customised wheel rims carrying Mafia-gangsta names such as “Soprano”, “Pistola” and “Vendetta” are all the rage in Tivoli Gardens, the Kingston housing project. Along with Nike footwear and spiffy track-bottoms, they have become an important part of the braggadocio among Jamaican youths who dream of US citizenship.

Jamaica is now a quasi-American outpost in the Caribbean. An estimated 55 per cent of Jamaica’s goods are imported from the US; these include not only sugar, cars and electrical goods, but also guns. America’s gun laws have fatally eased the transfer of firearms into Kingston.

For three centuries Jamaica had been the brightest jewel in the British slave colonies: a prized and inhumane possession. It prospered mightily during the sugar boom in the 18th century. The view that Jamaica was “better off” in the British system (even if that meant slavery) is held by those Jamaicans who argue that the new-born nation lost something when the Union Jack came down for the last time and the US began to strengthen its influence. As one Jamaican (certainly not an imperialist) asked me: “What has Jamaica done with its independence?”

After the hopes of 1962, a system of “clientism” evolved, in which patron-politicians provide their supporters with jobs, protection and a flow of money, as well as narcotics and firearms, in return for their loyalty. The attitude to power, it is often said, remains that of the plantation system, where brutality is meted out against the defenceless and every shanty-town Napoleon wants to be an overseer. In Jamaica, the link between politics and crime is pronounced. Politicians may choose to keep the poor in ignorance because it pays them to do so.

In a society burdened by three centuries of the plantation and the lash, strongmen like Christopher “Dudus” Coke have become the new lords of the manor, revered by some as Robin Hood figures. Such men may be lawbreakers, but they are lawmakers as well: men who are feared. The power held by Coke in Tivoli Gardens has evolved in the absence of proper government. The Church and police have long since moved uptown. Charities and free-food programmes no longer want to go downtown.

Cruelty had been implicit in the British imperial project (“Jamaican history,” wrote Karl Marx, “is characteristic of the beastliness of the true Englishman”), yet violence is not the whole picture. Rural Jamaica especially has an alluring atmosphere that cannot be guessed at from behind the walls of the all-inclusive tourist beach resorts. The mountains, streams and coastline linger in the memory. Jamaica radiates physical beauty. Yet the many wonderful things about the island — its music-making, its prowess in athletics — are shadowed by an endemic violence, in which God is a US-import Glock and murder has become the badge of honour.



~ by RB on May 28, 2010.

5 Responses to “UK Online Times-“Independence only brought crime and violence to Jamaica””

  1. Jamaica must disarm the garrison

  2. Thanks for the sites !! Well said !!

  3. Here is another recent one from the nytimes if you haven’t read it already.

    Jamaican Forces Accused of Killing Unarmed Men

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