Ter­ror­ism in Ja­maica

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY - Kevin O’Brien Chang GUEST COLUM­NIST Kevin O’Brien Chang is a busi­ness­man. Email feed­back to col­umns@glean­erjm.com.

“LET US walk hand in hand and help break down the bar­ri­ers in those zones of ex­clu­sion that cre­ate havens for crim­i­nal­ity.”

These in­spir­ing words from the 2011 prime min­is­te­rial in­au­gu­ra­tion speech seem to have been for­got­ten by ev­ery­one, even the speaker.

The re­cent March Pen mas­sacre re­minded many of sim­i­lar in­ci­dents that took place on Barnes Av­enue in south St An­drew in 2005 and Lau­ris­ton in St Cather­ine in 2011.

http://www.ja­maicaob­server.com/new s/ask-us-em­bassy/Mas­sacre-at-Bar­nesAv­enue----7-years-on_12707224

“OC­TO­BER 5, 2005, is not a date that Ran­dall Brown will for­get ... .

Res­i­dents re­mem­ber the blood­cur­dling screams of his 10-year-old niece, Sasha Brown, as she called out to her neigh­bours for help as fire rav­aged the house she was locked up in ... .

“The house was shot up and set on fire by masked gun­men. Ger­ald Brown, 60, his wife Dor­cas, 50, and their daugh­ter Jan­ice, 25, were killed along with Sasha ... .

“Ac­cord­ing to po­lice re­ports, the thugs threw Molo­tov cock­tail bombs into the house and then stood guard with their au­to­matic weapons at the ready, pre­vent­ing any­one from go­ing to the dy­ing fam­ily’s as­sis­tance.”

http://m.ja­maicaob­server.com/mo­bile/ news/Two-women-be­head­ed_9264403

“Church min­is­ter Char­maine Rat­tray and her 19-year-old daugh­ter were yes­ter­day morn­ing be­headed by gun­men who in­vaded their Lau­ris­ton home.

“The two were at­tacked just af­ter dawn by the men armed with guns and ma­chetes and who kicked open the door to their home as they slept. The women’s heads were taken from the scene by the cul­prits who had in­flicted nu­mer­ous chop wounds to the vic­tims’ bod­ies.

“Res­i­dents lis­tened and cow­ered help­lessly as the women’s hor­ri­fied screams pierced the morn­ing’s si­lence.”

http://ja­maica-gleaner.com/ar­ti­cle/ lead-sto­ries/20161011/fiery-scream­skids-tied-shot-14-y-o-paral­ysed

“Som­bre was the gen­eral mood yes­ter­day at 7 March Pen Road... where five per­sons, in­clud­ing three chil­dren, were shot, killed and their homes torched early last Sun­day morn­ing.

“Two of the chil­dren killed, ac­cord­ing to a fam­ily mem­ber who re­quested that his name not be used in this story, were mur­dered ex­e­cu­tion style. He told The Gleaner that the two chil­dren aged nine and 14 years were tied up by the hood­lums and then shot.

“‘You hear like dem a kick off di gate. When dem kick off di gate, you hear ex­plo­sion, [shots] fir­ing non-stop and a bare peo­ple a scream ... . All in a mi mind, mi a try come to the scream­ing, but mi couldn’t be­cause it was a lot of them and dem a fire shot.’”

SOME LEVEL OF CON­CERN

We have wit­nessed so many such acts of ter­ror­ism in this sup­pos­edly blessed land that we have be­come numb. No one even seems to care any­more when even chil­dren get mur­dered in these “zones of ex­clu­sion”.

We have wit­nessed so many such acts of ter­ror­ism in this sup­pos­edly blessed land that we have be­come numb. No one even seems to care any­more when even chil­dren get mur­dered in these “zones of ex­clu­sion”.

We can only judge our politi­cians by what they do and not what they say. In the af­ter­math of the Barnes Av­enue in­ferno, Na­tion­wide ra­dio had a vigil. Not a sin­gle politi­cian from ei­ther side turned up. Not then prime min­is­ter, P.J. Pat­ter­son. Not then Op­po­si­tion Leader Bruce Gold­ing. Not then Min­is­ter for Chil­dren Af­fairs Por­tia Simp­son Miller. Not then area MP Omar Davies.

Re­duc­ing crime in Ja­maica is go­ing to be an ob­vi­ously com­plex long-term un­der­tak­ing. Show­ing you care about the vic­tims of crime – par­tic­u­larly the chil­dren – is not.

When chil­dren are burned to death and heads chopped off, is it too much to ex­pect our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to demon­strate hu­man de­cency and com­pas­sion?

This time around, me­dia pres­sure has forced our elected heads to show some level of con­cern for the fam­ily of the vic­tims. Both mum­bled the usual “we must stop these das­tardly crim­i­nal acts”. And nearly a week af­ter the March Pen slaugh­ter, Op­po­si­tion Leader Por­tia Simp­son Miller ac­tu­ally showed up at the site of the mur­ders. The prime min­is­ter has so far only promised that he will visit ‘soon’.

An­drew Hol­ness has re­peat­edly stood be­fore the na­tion and pro­claimed that “I am dif­fer­ent”. Well, ac­tions speak louder than words. So far, his at­ti­tude to­wards the mas­sacre of our chil­dren by blood­thirsty crim­i­nals is in­dis­tin­guish­able from that of his pre­de­ces­sors.

Ba­sic steps, like pulling down zinc fences to fa­cil­i­tate ef­fect­ing po­lice pa­trols, could cer­tainly re­duce the fre­quency of these acts of ter­ror­ism.

But no one seems to care enough to start the process.

And so we sit and won­der what Ja­maican place name we will hear of next where lit­tle chil­dren are de­lib­er­ately burnt to death and teenage girls’ heads are chopped off.

FILE

A po­lice­man se­cures the crime scene where the burnt bod­ies of five res­i­dents were found in a ten­e­ment yard in an area known as Africa on March Pen Road in Span­ish Town, St Cather­ine, on Oc­to­ber 9.

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