Of Dog Paw and Leah Tavares-Finson…

Dog Paw and Leah Tavares-Finson are expecting a baby this February. Leah is the offspring of wealth and privilege in Jamaica while Dog Paw is a notorious gang leader. A lengthy interview with Leah is included.

Leah Tavares-Finson Photo: Peter Dean Rickards

When the police finally found Dog Paw in a house at Elletson Flats, he had written, in full anticipation of being killed, a letter addressed to his Mother, his girlfriends, his children and his yet unborn child. That child, due in February, will be born ‘famous’ because her/his other parent will be Leah Tavares-Finson, the daughter of Senator Tom Tavares-Finson and Cindy Breakspeare, the former Miss World who was one of Bob Marley’s most favoured consorts. Bob Marley was the father of Leah’s step half brother (thanks for correction J!), Damian Marley. When her mother Cindy became pregnant for Marley it caused no end of scandal in staid 1970s Jamaica and abroad. A London newspaper carried photos of Cindy and the dreadlocked Bob under the headline “Beauty and the Beast.” In a strange twist her daughter’s pregnancy for an ‘outlaw’ is causing a similar scandal. I found the extraordinary conversation below on an online Dancehall Reggae forum. One marvels at the confidence with which jahblem offers his misinformation in this exchange generated by the fact that Leah T-F is pregnant for Dog Paw:


nuh Cindy Breakspeare dawta dat? and damian marley sister? look like she tek affa har madda, ghetto bwaay shi love…


no…they dont have kids together (tavares and cindy)…i would assume its tavares dawta before he hooked up wid cindy…i could be wrong…but when cindy got married to him they were both old and grey and had kids already from previous marriages.

LOL! Old and gray! Cindy married Tom when Damian was a toddler (she was probably in her early 30s), and went on to have Leah and Christian with Tavares-Finson.

Jamaica Observer, Clovis

Leah is a fascinating character. She may be following in the tradition of her father’s family (which has roots in the so-called garrison community of Tivoli Gardens) by going into politics. Will she herald a new kind of representational politics since she has personally breached not only the uptown/downtown divide but also the legit/illegit one by literally commingling with a Don? After all, Dons are also political representatives, only they are illegitimate ones, informal leaders whose constituencies straddle the world of organized crime and garrison politics. At any rate this young lady is one to watch, in my opinion.

Read more about Leah in the interview below which first appeared in the Style Observer. Her interlocutor was photographer/writer Peter Dean Rickards, of Afflicted Yard fame. The ‘Presi’ referred to in the early part of the interview is Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, reputed to be Leah’s godfather. Her father Tom Tavares-Finson was Dudus’s lawyer. Dudus has since been extradited to the United States on gun and drug-running charges. The “early morning ‘situation’ at a house in Kintyre” referred to is when she was taken into custody from Dog Paw’s house some months ago. Happy reading!

Leah Tavares Finson is no wild child

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Leah Tavares-Finson is the daughter of Senator Tom Tavares-Finson and a former Miss World, Cindy Breakspeare. Her brother Damian Marley is pretty famous too, having copped a few Grammy Awards; so why has she been raising eyebrows recently? For starters, there was the brief MYSPACE message requesting that “Presi” be left alone, followed by an earlymorning ‘situation’ at a house in Kintyre. Leah is adamant, however, that she’s no “wild child”.

SO: Why did you post the message on MYSPACE to leave “Presi” alone?

For those of us who can accept reality, “Presi” is somewhat of a hero and a legend. He has been able to do for West Kingston what so many politicians can only dream of accomplishing. I’m not in a position to debate the means he used to accomplish what he has accomplished, but when all is said and done, he managed to pull off quite a job.

I think I fully understood at the time when I first posted “leave Presi alone” the grave and disastrous repercussions that the nation would face. We have lost more than 80 lives and even if they were not all innocent, I do not accept the term “casualties of war” as a reasonable excuse. I think our country should be deeply saddened by this absolutely unnecessary loss of mainly innocent lives. I know my heart is certainly broken; so you see, in the end it is not really about “Presi” but about the people of West Kingston. They now have to piece their lives back together, overcoming pain, loss and memories of brutality. They must do so without the indisputably strong leadership that they’ve had for so long. I only hope that our political system can provide them with the social programmes, the support and the guidance they need to replace what has been destroyed. REALITY!

SO: Tell us about Leah. Her likes, dislikes, what makes her smile and what makes her sad.

LTF: I’m not a very exciting or excited person despite what people may think. You know there is this idea out there that I am some wild card, but that’s not really true… I love being home. I’m very laidback. I love food, eating out and cooking. Yes, I can cook; my mother taught me well.

I love mango sorbet!

My little sister, Capri, makes me smile. She is quite something; so much smarter than I was at her age. I’m just so amazed when I watch her.

What makes me sad? Seeing a country with so much potential being exploited and abused. The lack of education amongst our people and the lack of opportunities on a whole are depressing.

Sometimes when I feel like I can’t do anything to help my own country (because every aspect of our society is so corrupt), I am sad.

SO: Who (artiste) does Leah listen to?

LTF: Gaza! Vybz Kartel is my artiste. I love my brother’s music, but I suppose where that is concerned most would say I’m biased. Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Aidonia, Busy Signal and Black Ryno. I don’t care who doesn’t talk to whom, respect is due once the talent exists.

SO: Who impresses Leah?

LTF: My brother Damian does. I think he is brilliant. I admire his focus and when I listen to his music I often think: ‘Wow, how did he come up with that?’ He is great.

I think anyone with a very business-savvy head and that drive to fight for what they want in life, regardless of what other people may think and say, impresses me.

SO: And Leah’s take on love?

LTF: Love is good. How could it not be?

As human beings our existence would be doomed if we didn’t have love for one another. We need people with bigger hearts. Love has no boundaries and no colour, and it should be unconditional.

SO: Who does Leah love?

LTF: My family, although it does not 100 per cent include my immediate family; it is not limited to and doesn’t only mean people who have the same ancestral background as I do. I love the people who have loved me unconditionally and have been a constant source of support and strength. They know themselves. The one I smile and laugh with and share my “dramas” with.

SO: What’s the last book Leah has read?

LTF: A schoolbook entitled Words that Ring Through Time. It’s an amazing collection of speeches by various historical figures.

SO: Leah on her mum Cindy Breakspeare and on her dad Senator Tom Tavares-Finson…

My parents are the two most amazing people I know. They are so different from each other but so similar at the same time. It’s pretty fascinating. Despite what anyone has to say, they’ve done a tremendous job raising Damian, Christian and myself, and nobody could ever dispute that. Both Damian and Christian are so wellmannered, so bright, so focused. They are just two well-rounded individuals. And I think they are a reflection of the kind of people my parents are.

My mother is a fighter, strong with a back as broad as the continent of Africa. I admire her ability to improvise and manoeuvre through any situation. My dad has a great sense of humour and he is affectionate and adores his kids. He is a great lawyer and is really what a politician should be all about. Both of them have taught me so much. Things that I am confident in the long run will prove to be my greatest assets and characteristics.

SO: Is Leah the voice of Jamaica’s uptown ‘white and restless’?

LTF: Absolutely not!

The correct definition of restless is to be worried and uneasy, and although that does define a part of my personality I don’t at all think it defines all uptown ‘whites’. I am the voice of people who care and people who want to help, and whether that means white, black, orange, uptown, downtown, or round town, it nuh matter. The quicker we put this uptown/downtown division behind us is the better off we will all be as a nation.

SO: Leah rocks… what’s Leah’s style?

LTF: Does she? I don’t think I rock at all! Anybody who knows me well knows that I am not a fashionista. I wear what is comfortable and practical for my lifestyle, and anything other than that you would have to ask my mother about because she is the one who dresses me when I look half decent.

SO: What’s next for Leah?

LTF: Finishing up school. I’m getting a degree in Political Science, after that…I really haven’t decided. My family business here in Jamaica, DC Tavares & Finson Realty Ltd is one of my options. It’s currently run by my uncle William whom I admire a lot and would love to work with! Maybe politics… we will see.

Author: ap

writer, editor and avid tweeter

19 thoughts on “Of Dog Paw and Leah Tavares-Finson…”

  1. I remember reading this interview before and thinking, oh she’s definitely going into politics, right behind Lisa Hanna. Maybe she will mature politically as well. In her way, she seems to have the same paternalistic attitude as the existing set. That is, she may empathize and have direct experience/contact with poor people, but she doesn’t seem to see them as capable of speaking for themselves or harnessing their own power to change their circumstances. This is exactly why liberals scare me. But, the story’s not over yet!

    1. Most of us find it difficult to overcome our paternalistic socialization i don’t see why Leah is expected to be any different. interesting how people seem so eager to knock her down, put her in her place, discard her on the basis of one interview which strikes me as being superior to 99% of the interviews carried in the Style Observer…as for not allowing poor people to speak for themselves don’t forget that she’s thrown her lot in with someone–Dog Paw–who presumably does speak for a set of such people. Besides where except in dancehall do such people have an opportunity to ‘speak for themselves’?

      1. Annie – the same way you can be skeptical about Jamaican art, is the same way I can be skeptical about elites who claim to ally themselves with the masses, yes?

  2. Hail Annie Paul

    I’m a bit weary of these uptown sketels getting all the press. What about dag paws’ other baby mothers and gyal dem. What? Dem havi bleach before Observer interview dem! Is the same ting did happen when Bob breed Cindy. What about Bob other gyal dem. Why BBC neva run one story pon dem and dem know seh Rasta a replenish the erth.

    “Despite what anyone has to say, they’ve done a tremendous job raising Damian, Christian and myself, and nobody could ever dispute that”….then why say “despite what [Stero] has to say? The matter is obviously in dispute given her behaviour and associations. I contend that di gyal a bat-head…despite what Annie says. All Portia she mek look smart!

    “I’m not in a position to debate the means he used to accomplish what he has accomplished, but when all is said and done, he managed to pull off quite a job.” The means he used is what led to the extradition request and his eventual extradition. So why would ‘we’ leave him alone. Di gyal nuh fi seh nutin. I contend that di gyal a bat-head…despite what Annie says. All Dorothy Lightbourne she mek look smart. (Thank God her daddy didn’t win the nomination to represent west kingston when they kicked blinds out of the party. It would be business as usual.

    Finally, “[Cindy]…with a back as broad as the continent of Africa…[and] her ability to improvise and manoeuvre…” was probably also well appreciated by Bob…Raaaaaeeeee. Had to do it since we are celebrating everything ghetto these days.

    Peace and love, Stero

  3. Leah you will never understand what it is to be on the other side of the fence, neither will you understand the life of those affected by crime and violence by the hands of the people you hold as hero and dear to your life. Pray you do not fall on the other side because your experience and story will change.

    I really dont think you care much about Jamaica land we love. If you do ask yourself this question. How many illegal guns did I see around me and did nothing? the sole purpose of those guns were to destroy life and property. If you beleive in God ask youself what is God thinking about me now, what meaningful purpose does God have for me and his people.

  4. Leah, you look gorgeous on the outside. Can’t tell much about the inside. I’m wondering the message you are sending sleeping with the most wanted man and the implications as it relates to other harden criminals and how they see other criminals as role model. Are we thinking thats what it takes to get a woman of the caliber of Leah?

    I said it before and I will say it again please dont be on the receiving end of crime and violence because you will feel like it was better you were not born. When your number comes up you will be sweating under the A/C. Dont think you will ever want to see that day trust me. So with the influence you can have in this society plase use it intelegently and without BIAS. You dont need help you already have it use it wisely. Dont be pulled to the level of other people pull them to your level.

    1. You know, one of the most interesting things about life and the human being is our ability to have individual thoughts, ideas and feelings, better than that is the INABILITY of a human being to read anothers thoughts, ideas or feelings. Stero voiced some very judmental, ignorant and nasty opinions that do not even deserve to be adressed any further. J and Mark, u seem to have it all figured out, so tell me, what have u done for jamaica thus far and what r your future plans to better “jamaica land we love”??? or are u just another one of those people who sits on the side line and cusses & judges everyone else who makes an effort, but never themselves does anything. U both seem to wish that leah would have some violent encounter so she can learn her lesson, ask yourselves what god would think of YOU and also ask yourselves if you are infact god, because as far as i can remember HIM alone can judge! Lastly, I AM leah, none of u know me, or know christopher,u dont know the kind of people we are, none of u know where him and i are coming from, how we met, why i love him or what we have both been through together and seperatly! lastly, you certainly do NOT know how much we BOTH love Jamaica…i guarantee u thought that 1 day u will, so just give us a minute!

      1. Leah if this is indeed you, welcome! There is indeed far too much rush to judgment in the face of insufficient info…that is what holds us back as a society in my opinion. Too many Ayatollahs, too few leaders, thinkers and strategists…

  5. yes annie it was me! i jus looked back at the blog for the first time since i commented. sorry that stero and the others hadnt replied with a few more of their narrow ideologies but maybe it was for the better. both chris and i are available to speak out and up anytime u want to contact us.

    1. hey! glad to hear from u–am in Curacao now but would like to follow up on that offer as soon as i get back next week. will email! regards to Chris.

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