Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/27/10

The Roots Of Jamaica's Deadly Violence

By       (Page 2 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page. (View How Many People Read This)   No comments
Author 7008
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Michael Roberts
Become a Fan
  (17 fans)

So now we come to more issues of politics in the case involving Mr. Coke and Mr. Golding's behavior. Initially Mr. Golding was convinced that, in the words of Mr. Coke's attorney, he was just a simple businessman, and that he was compelled to protect a Jamaican citizen from unfair and unjust legal proceedings awaiting him in a New York courthouse where if found guilty he would spend the rest of his life in prison. Apart from the fact that Mr. Coke was the wrong candidate that the prime minister chose to hang his human rights credentials on, he clearly miscalculated just how much of a violent backlash would occur when he suddenly was struck by a righteous epiphany and reversed himself.

Enter economics that other important factor in understanding the roots of this new round of violence in Jamaica. Mr. Golden and his government, especially his minister of national security, are both aware of the explosive and violent nature of the country's reputed 80 garrison communities of which Tivoli Gardens was the most violent and dangerous. And from every indication Mr. Coke is Jamaica's leading exponent of not only garrison-style politics, but also garrison style economics. His brand of economics rests on a foundation of drugs, guns, murder, extortion, intimidation, fear and violence. In essence, the sobriquet "don" mimicked after the Italian mafia - is a fitting title for Mr. Coke.

Garrison communities by their very nature are not engines of economic development. People are duped into believing that going to "a don" for financial and other help means that the don is protecting the community and looking after its interests since established government does not seem to care. But on closer examination the degree of exploitation by these criminal elements is exposed. Economic and social development cannot occur in a garrison community and therefore poverty, illiteracy and underdevelopment are what define garrison communities. The result is violence of all kinds, drug use and abuse, prostitution, and other anti-social, negative forms of undetected oppression by the don and his henchmen enforcers.

In Jamaica these garrison communities are ruled by a thuggish element that historically is closely aligned with the ruling political classes and parties. This suppression of people's freedom is the hellish exchange that an impoverished populace has to make to put food on the table and keep a roof over the heads of their children. As the only game in town young men and boys aspire to be dons or soldiers and eagerly join these gangs thus continuing the cycle of intimidation, patronage, violence, lawlessness and fear. This is the situation in Jamaica's Tivoli Gardens, Trench Town and other garrison communities today.

The garrison phenomenon started in the 1960s just after Jamaica's independence but tribal political violence started way back in the late 1940s when Jamaica attained universal adult suffrage. Political contests back then were marred by violence carried out by both elements of the Peoples National Party (PNP) and the Jamaica Labor Party (JLP). In those early days fanatic supporters of both parties used sticks, stones, bottles and knives to intimidate and cow voters. Guns and rifles are the preferred tools today.

Soon politicians mainly from Jamaica's mulatto upper class were actively engaging these gangs from poor, ghettoized communities as surrogates because of their disdain and contempt for these communities populated by a poor, largely uneducated mass of people. Politicians and political parties looked the other way as these gangs ruled their garrisons with brutal efficiency delivering votes and guaranteeing political loyalty to the JLP or PNP. Both political parties channeled funds and other resourced through these dons as opposed to engaging the people themselves and building grassroots institutions that would become grounded in these communities, thus empowering them.

Over time this gave the dons in the garrisons enormous power, influence and control. These garrisons became their own personal fiefdoms. Inevitably, wars between various groups and dons supporting either the JLP or the PNP broke out first along political lines and then over turf and expansion of territory. By the 1970s the old original dons had all died, been murdered, or arrested by cops. But a new breed of dons assisted by a criminal element in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, changed the social composition of the don structure and their gangs.

By the 1980s these new-age dons were using the Internet and other modern communications technology to do their business as they branched out and built their criminal enterprises while successive Jamaican governments looked the other way, pretended that everything was all right, and allegedly became politically entwined with these criminal organizations for political gain and power.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3


Rate It | View Ratings

Michael Roberts Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Why Black History Is important

Wordsmiths And The Delusional

Blacks Killing Blacks

Black On Black Crime: A Critique

2014 FIFA World Cup: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

October 19, 1983 and The Murder Of Maurice Bishop

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: