Downtown shootout: Jamaica on edge

The country was on edge yesterday as rumours started lighting up, first on cellphones, and then the radio, of a shootout in Denham Town, West Kingston. The speculation was wild: had Jamaican security forces finally made a move for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke in neighbouring Tivoli Gardens?

Everyone was nervous. While we shrug at the daily list of fatal police-gunman shootouts, this was Tivoli. The worst ‘incursion’ by security forces had left 27 dead in 2001. Now of course, the United States wants to extradite Dudus, and removing him, likely by force, threatens a repeat of Mogadishu.

It’s this situation that should remind us how close we’ve been to the edge for a long, long time.

And yet we’re a ‘narco-state’, an island where politicians-criminals-businessman can at times be indistinguishable, except by public pretense. These few photographs were taken while FIRST was downtown today, and in the event, quickly. You’d find these images okay, in your community? Continue reading