‘The good haffi suf­fer fi the bad’

Mount Salem res­i­dents ready to give up rights in state of emer­gency

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE - Livern Bar­rett livern.bar­rett@glean­erjm.com

RES­I­DENTS OF Mount Salem, the thriv­ing yet vi­o­lent com­mu­nity lo­cated in the Greater Mon­tego Bay area, have started to bury loved ones killed in the lat­est crime wave sweep­ing across St James.

Amid the fu­ner­als, how­ever, came a very sober­ing warn­ing from one res­i­dent.

The life­long Mount Salem res­i­dent sug­gested that it was time to take back the com­mu­nity from vi­cious crim­i­nals who have had them cow­er­ing in fear, but ac­knowl­edged that this could have deadly con­se­quences.

“There are go­ing to be some ca­su­al­ties, and it’s hard, be­cause me nuh wah dead. Are we will­ing to stand up and be the first ca­su­alty in or­der to ef­fect this change?” asked the mid­dle-age woman, who, like many oth­ers, de­clined to give her name.

“Let’s say there are 100 per­sons liv­ing in the com­mu­nity. Three are bad. Am I go­ing to al­low those three to make me be­come fear­ful. Hell no!” de­clared the woman.

“We should not al­low the three per cent (crim­i­nals) to dic­tate how we live. Ei­ther mek dem join we (law-abid­ing res­i­dents) or we tek dem out,” she un­der­scored.

Since the start of this year, 200 peo­ple have been re­ported killed in St James, and Mount Salem has not es­caped the clutches of crime.

Ac­cord­ing to one man, the com­mu­nity has seen more than a dozen killings in the past two months. The most re­cent killing took place last Fri­day when a shop owner and his nephew were sprayed with bul­lets by un­known as­sailants. “There was a fu­neral two Sun­days ago, there was a fu­neral last Sun­day, there is one to­mor­row (to­day) and there is one on Sun­day,” the 53-year-old told The Gleaner yes­ter­day. He said sev­eral fam­i­lies have al­ready fled the com­mu­nity. Weary res­i­dents told The Gleaner they would wel­come a lim­ited state of emer­gency in the parish, even though it would strip them of some of their con­sti­tu­tional rights.


“The good haffi suf­fer fi the bad,” said one man who was firmly in sup­port of a lim­ited state of emer­gency. Shortly be­fore mid-morn­ing yes­ter­day, The Gleaner’s in­ves­tiga­tive team en­coun­tered a group of men drink­ing rum in the trou­bled com­mu­nity. “When you drink the rum, it mek you for­get all what a gwaan ... . You don’t think about it all that much and tek it to heart,” one drinker ex­plained. “Calm yuh nerves. The whole a St James hot,” an­other man chimed in.

He said be­cause of the fear grip­ping the res­i­dents, many be­lieve that it is safer for them to be out­doors rather than in­side their house.

“When you deh out­side, you can see dem a come and try run and save you life, but when you in­side, you nuh have no chance fi escape,” he rea­soned.


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