Post-script to Soldiers and Police in Jamaica

Well, the local media have been pipped once again. According to the Guardian (UK) in an article titled From Kabul to Kingston “Army tactics in Jamaica resemble those used in Afghanistan – and it’s no mere coincidence.”

“For two weeks, the Jamaican army and police have fought gun battles in Kingston. The many allegations of human rights abuses committed by the security forces – including extrajudicial killings and the disposal of bodies – have received almost no international attention. Nor have the linkages between the Jamaican crisis, the security establishments in the US, Britain and Canada, and the mutations of the “war on terror”.

But strategy and tactics deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan are being applied in Jamaica. Drones fly over Kingston, and were used in the 24 May assault to select targets. On 7 June, Tivoli residents discovered that to enter or leave the area they had to produce “passes” issued by the police (revised, after protests, to restrictions on movement after dark). There is blanket surveillance of electronic communications in breach of Jamaican privacy protections – indeed, it was the illegal provenance of some of the evidence against Christopher “Dudus” Coke that initially held up extradition proceedings.”

In fact in Hubert Neal’s painting mentioned in the previous post he had included the figure of a triangular shaped plane hovering over Kingston Harbour and then attempted to erase it leaving a ghostly shape. The soldiers were quite excited to see this. “The spy plane! the spy plane!” they exclaimed.

One day hopefully we’ll hear the whole nine yards. I’ve thought from the beginning that this was a well-executed plan, with outside assistance, designed to breach the fortress of Tivoli on grounds of capturing Dudus which would bloom into an all-out assault on Dons and their gangs.

The problem is that even in times of uneasy peace the human rights of the poor were routinely violated. How can we assure ourselves that they are not victimized in this so-called war on crime?

Meanwhile in Britain “David Cameron today (June 15) issued a formal, state apology for the “unjustified and unjustifiable” killing of 14 civil rights marchers by British soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry 38 years ago.”

Will we ever have closure here on the killing of 73 civilians in Tivoli on May 24th?

Author: Annie Paul

writer, editor and avid tweeter anniepaulose@gmail.com

6 thoughts on “Post-script to Soldiers and Police in Jamaica”

  1. Hi, Annie–the author of the Guardian op-ed piece, Richard Drayton, is actually from the Caribbean: born in Guyana, grew up in Barbados, and related to the novelist Geoffrey Drayton.

  2. actually he is not related to Geoffrey Drayton. He is the son of Harry Drayton of Guyana (who taught at Calabar in the 1950s) and Kathleen Drayton (originally of Trinidad). He is named after Richard Hart (of the 4Hs fame) since his parents met in Jamaica at UWI in the early 50s and were close to Hart.

  3. His parents, then, were among the West Indian academics who were expelled from Jamaica in the 1960s by the JLP government. Along with Clive Thomas and, of course, Walter Rodney. Not to mention foreign academics such as Jay Mandle and Bert Ollman (the last of whom taught me at NYU).

  4. Annie, I feel a sense of deja vu. This is not the first time this has happened in Tivoli. But we seem to have these outbreaks of mass state violence ever so often. I was reading about Coral Gardens that happened way back when and the similarities are haunting.

    The lives of poor black people have no value.

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