Jamaican police: All dressed in uniforms of brutality? The Robert Hill killing

These are my most recent tweets this evening after listening to a radio discussion on the killing of Robert Hill by the police here. The story had been reported in yesterday’s Sunday Herald which had already reported in October that Hill was being threatened:


“Robert ‘Kentucky Kid’ Hill predicted his death and he actually named the cops who would be responsible.”


Acc to the Sunday Herald’s team, Hill, virtually in tears, said he was convinced that cops were stalking him and he felt intimidated.


Based on a police report, Hill was killed during a shootout with a police party on Wednesday, December 9

“They killed my child. How am i going to come down there and bury my son?” Robert Hill’s mother on Nationwide Radio.

Its not the Jamaica Constabulary Force, it’s the Jamaican Criminal Force, declares Cliff Hughes on Nationwide radio

“He’s never going 2 see his baby grow. She’s never going to know her father” Robert Hill’s sobbing mother said.


Carolyn Gomes, spokesperson for Jamaicans for Justice, is holding Acting Police Commissioner responsible for safety of Junior, Robert Hill’s cousin, who saw the killers. He is missing, alleged abducted…

“None of us is safe. They can get away with it. ” Cliff Hughes. Nationwide Radio.


One of my ‘tweeple’ responded asking:


who was Robert Hill Annie?


i referred him to the Sunday Herald article.


Then he sent this: ok. Kentucky. You seen the youtube link i posted last week? he names the police


i begged him to repost the link and he did urging me to read Kentucky’s comments on the video. See it below…



Notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel
NB: have had to rename this post because it was hijacked by a site called mediazoneja which is passing it off as its original content and harvesting the resulting traffic. please note that these are my notes, and only i have the right to disseminate them. Originally this post was called: Vybz Kartel Makes an Impact: “when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear”

Nov. 14, 2009
Ok, sharing my notes from the interview between Cliff Hughes and Vybz Kartel on TVJ’s Impact which aired on November 12, 2009. Remember this is not verbatim, much of it is my shorthand to myself. And there are occasional gaps, i didn’t try to note every single detail. Occasionally i comment in bold type. i frequently summarize CH’s questions. VK’s responses are italicized. He often refers to himself in third person as Vybz Kartel. There has been so much demand for news about the interview (judging by the hundreds of page views this blog is suddenly getting) that instead of waiting till i can write a proper post about it i thought why not share these notes? They provide quite a glimpse into the path the interview took if not actually being a blow by blow account. i thought Vybz was in complete control and this interview is a striking record of a very important moment in Jamaican cultural history–i have much to say about this but for now here is almost the full 100 i promised yesterday. Incidentally Cliff neglected to ask the two top questions anyone with some knowledge of popular culture here would have asked. 1) is it true that Kartel has pierced his tongue? 2) Is it true that he bleaches and if so, why?

8 pm, TVJ, November 12, 2009, Impact
crazy ads before show, real coup for Cliff, interview outdoors in uptown Gaza (?), nice yard, Laing is clearly lurking in the background judging by asides addressed to him by Adidja “Vybz Kartel” Palmer

VK introed as the most popular DJ, most influential entertainer in Jamaica, incredible lyricist with an incredible fan base spanning socioeconomic grps. Also a shrewd businessman who owns rights to all 4000 of his songs.

Interview kicks off, Why is yr music so controversial?

I don’t know. VK just does music…

How do you see what you do?

as music, as art, art is a reflection of life

my creative right as an artist

a musician, not a religious leader nor a political one nor a social one

parenting, takes responsibility for teaching his kids

sylvester stallone, Rambo, shooting officers, action movies from Hwood? What about those?

I DJ about life in Jamaica

VK is not a killer

I do a lot of socially conscious songs most of which are not played

i’m an entertainer, I get paid to entertain, its not my responsibility to grow fatherless children.

Society has a responsibility…

children in the ghetto need social programmes, they need motivation.

I don’t see anyone in Cherry Garden going out and killing anyone after listening to my music

How do Cliff H, VK, the PM help Jamaica? Cliff includes himself which is good…

VK employs a lot of Jamaicans, I have a company, that is my responsibility to Ja–to be a good citizen

If VK is to be held responsible as an artiste then Hwood must be held resp….

all of us grew up on gangster movies…

only VK buttons have been focused on by the media

media out to get him

VK most influential artiste…

VK finds this a burden…asked to mind people’s children, to care for everyone’s children

he condemns sale of buttons, he wasn’t involved with manufacturing them, his own posters are about staying in school, abstinence make sense etc. Daddy don’t touch me there, is that to be interpreted as actually having happened to Queen Ifrica?

what is your message to the young people? Cliff asks. “Stay in school, always use a condom…”

VK: gaza gully superimposed on schisms that exist, can’t expect mavado and him to bear the burden for what society has created, the decay in society isn’t created by them. They are mirrors.

Cliff; but you’re contributing to it! You’re most influential, you;’re a very bright man, that’s why you’re under pressure, you’re capable of doing much better than that…don’t you accept that there comes a point when u say my country is at risk, I have a talent, ray ray ray ray.

VK: the right people to ask are the politicians, people who have access to money, to knowhow, the resources, people who can help the garrisons, lightbulb scandal, how many millions that could have been spent on improving quality of life of the poor…

when do we, cliff and kartel, use our talent to say to the people of this country blah blah…why the violence in his music?

Because it sells basically…

since start of this year i’ve done 4 gangster songs, they get ratings, sound sytem play, dub plates are made…

anything the people want the people will get

at root of violence are the socioeconomic conditions, gun culture cultivated by our politicians,

CH: take off the artiste hat and put on the citizen hat, what wld u say to the politicians?

VK: I have nothing to say to the pols, as artistes we stay far from politicians, Gaza mi seh

CH: what gaza mi seh mean?

“Gaza means Fight for what you believe in against all odds, against all adversity”

Mr. Addy the teacher…how he arrived at name Gaza?

When I left the Alliance VK came under so much pressure, i said to Blak Rino and others we need to form a group. But we need a perfect name

the 1st war was just happening in Gaza, israel was bombarding them but the people were fighting back regardless, and VK said to Laing, we’re going to use that name coz it means to me–dem people deh serious and dem nah back down. Makes link to the pressure he came under when he left the Alliance, when his career was threatened. So that was the perfect name for him at the time.

1996…VK and a singer called Escobar and another friend decided to join forces, they got the name from a movie about Escobar and his infamous cartel…how come this attraction for notorious, infamous people etc

VK: No, the idea of adopting the name Kartel predated that becoz “a cartel is a group of people coming together to limit prices and control competition and that’s what Vybz Kartel wanted to do at that time”

“we distribute music, legal narcotics…”

falling out w Bounti happened over the latter’s desire to control his life, but VK is a man, couldn’t allow that, no matter how grateful for the start BK gave him; also his friendship with Beenie didn’t help

whence the rivalry w Mavado?

when I fell out of grace w BK so to speak, I guess Mavado figured he shld defend his honour.

CH: are u prepared to go on a stage together etc to make statement to yr fans?

But, VK responds, they did this already, with Mark Shields, but he’ll do it again, no problem

ready to go to schools and talk to students, but no one has ever approached them, tho there is a series of school tours with other artistes

“sometimes I wonder if its like a conspiracy by society to watch us fight in the ring like a gladiator and till both of us die. Why nobody don’t step onto the field and say we need u to go into the schools and this event will be sponsored by this company or that company–

“i’m shocked that society took so long to come to us w a plan like that.”

CH: Greatest threat acc to prinicpals—the G culture–

VK says he knows: Ganja, guns, graffiti, Gaza, Gully–

VK is a musician, limits to what he can do, he is willing to do something but who will take the initiative? Private sector not stepping up, no one else coming forward

“remember. when two gladiators are gone 2 more will appear.”

CH: Bounti Killa says Vybz Kartel the worst thing he has ever done to dancehall…(VK used to be BK’s protege)

that is typical bad man BK, that is his persona, I have no comment

born in Waterhouse, four sis one bro, third in fam, eldest sis a teacher

speaks to his Mom almost every day…

Life is life and we live and we die…the only thing that is certain in life is death

“except smoking which is bad, don’t do it…”

VK was a truant always sculling school and going to studios, got expelled from Calabar

good at litt, tells all children, “education is the key and VK is not a dunce and if u want to be a good artist u have to have an education”

he just meditates the lyrics, doesn’t use pen and paper anymore…a lot of artists do this…Sizzla too.

Name Adidja Palmer…”made me feel more special, more indigenous to what I was doing”

i’m a very spiritual person, not necessarily religious, rel too confusing, he reads bible, close links w family and friends

how many kids, by how many women? Five, 6 to 3 mths (honestly would Cliff ever ask an uptown citizen this? And why not? many of them have several children by different women)

An artiste has to remain a bachelor, so to speak, to maintain his appeal. (refuses to be drawn on his love/sex life–smart move VK)

Family is basis of society and civilization, I’m a great father, my kids and I are friends. Didn’t get to bond w his own father who was working 24/7

music business doesn’t follow a set time, in between time lots of time for family

never heard anyone say of his son…yu see is thru him father is a dj…1st thing his son has to do is his homework. Normal family life, coz when VK steps into his home he is not VK—he is Addy the Daddy.

Not the teacher…Daddy, which is the ultimate teacher, That’s why we’re saying–family is first– Jamaicans shld take the responsibility as parents and adults to grow their child in the right way and not leave them to outside influences like a DJ or a taximan in the street playing a VK.

CH: Lapping up etc…bus porn. VK’s reactions. (reminds me of time years ago when Cliff Hughes and was it Carol Narcisse visited Gemini or Caesar’s or one of the nightclubs and Cliff unabashedly enjoyed a lapdance, live on radio as it were–hey this is my memory of it ok?)

VK sings Schoolgirl don’t go inna di schoolbus. complains he has addressed things like this over and over but these songs never get highlighted by media or played very much…(why don’t Cliff, Boyne and com ever harrass media owners and managers about things like this?)

VK doesn’t have a US visa, was turned down, doesn’t know why, has reapplied. The Empire is touring w/o a problem, the Empire only concerned with the musical aspect no control over member’s lives

proud of products such as Street Vybz rum, ‘Daggerin’ line of condoms. “I’m a conspiracy theorist you know” wonders why the name of the condoms was banned the moment it came out. (referring to Romping Shop controversy and ban by Jamaica Broadcasting Commission).

CH: anything to say to fans and detractors?

Well we have nothing to say to our detractors coz if u don’t like VK I guess you probably never will. As I have told people before i’m a musician and I will never stop doing music.

Appeals to his fans in the streets not to take the Gaza Gully thing to an extreme “Just keep the music as music” and don’t take it literally don’t fight over this GG thing, and give your artiste a bad name because at the end of the day it is Mavado and myself who have to take the blame yknow what I mean for what is happening in the streets. But I have nothing to say to my detractors becoz if u nah like mi you nah go like mi and if you love mi you a goh love mi, Vybz K is not somebody you can like, you have to love him or you have to hate him.

no in between?

No in between, no gray area…

Hardley Surprising…Let us resign ourselves…


Clovis, Jamaica Observer, Tuesday, November 3 2009

Well, you might say the country is resigned to it. We have resigned ourselves to the fact that the economy will continue to decline while the crime rate continues to spiral. The mood of resignation even influenced some influential people into resigning over the weekend. On Friday the 30th of October the Governor of the BOJ resigned. On Sunday the first of November the Police Commissioner resigned (Hardley Lewin), incidentally just a few hours after I wrote about the pressure on him to resign (see below).

Derick Lattibeaudiere had been Governor of the BOJ since 1996 and was no stranger to the public sphere where his unorthodox expense accounts had come under scrutiny. He was not however one to profile with the Page Two class and seemed to share a sense of privacy almost as comprehensive as Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke’s. Like the latter he was said to rule with an iron hand, and shunned rather than courted media attention. In fact when contacted by Cliff Hughes (Nationwide radio) for an explanation of his sudden resignation, his forthright rebuff seemed to suggest that it gave him no end of pleasure to turn Hughes down because for once he didn’t HAVE to answer a journalist’s questions; he was no longer a public servant obliged to account to the media for his actions. When the pugnacious Hughes persisted, Latty, as he’s fondly known, essentially terminated the interview by exhorting the media whiz to avoid vulture-like behaviour.

You have to remember that both these resignations have taken place while an IMF team is here negotiating terms with the Finance Minister (or explaining whatever new method of lassoing us it has developed) for a loan. I would have to conclude then that these two resignations had the approval of the IMF, if not actually coming at their instigation. Someone like Latty would have been a prime candidate for an IMF-recommended chop. He was hired in the 90s when neoliberalism reigned supreme and fatcat salaries were the order of the day “because if the public sector wanted the best they had to pay private sector salaries and perks.”

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
Clovis, Jamaica Observer, Nov. 2, 2009

Whereas fatcat CEOs have fallen or been taken down in the US as a fallout of the failure of their banking and investment system we haven’t gone through such a process here. Maybe this is the beginning?

By the way there were some interesting responses on Twitter and Facebook to the Police Commissioner’s resignation:

bigblackbarry Since mostly clowns get the work I wonder if dem going to give Hell A Lewis the commish job??

Winsome (Fbook)

Strait! Me go start a campaign dis week fi Hell A! Plus e ave nuff nuff button pon him clothes already!

@Fledgist: Dem a go mek Dudus di commish.

and echoing that this last one from the comments on the Observer website is priceless:

kgn 13 yute

Christopher Coke is the man for the job. If all the JLP enclaves are under one order and the prezi gives the orders, he most certainly can handle the job

Ask some police officers, they are already under the order.

I will wait sit here in the US and be the first to nominate Mr. Coke.

jackasses

Overtaken by the bré bré?


These days I seem to spend all my time sprinting from deadline to deadline, hurtling over the added hurdles of blog posts–pacing myself–hoping even briefly to attain the grace, elegance and power of Olympian Melaine Walker. Sigh. One of these days….

In the meantime there’s much to talk about. With the potential meltdown of the financial architecture of the United States occurring in the background it seems picayune to return to the PNP power struggle that came to a head last weekend–on the 20th to be precise. But it bears talking about for several reasons. For one the outcome left a number of Jamaica’s leading talking heads and pundits with egg all over their faces…again (the diatribalist also focuses on this, read his Errata).

For another, Portia Simpson-Miller, President of the Opposition People’s National Party, represents to the elite and middle class in Jamaica what Obama represents to white, bible-thumping, gun-toting mainstream America. Thus she comes in for the same kind of demonization and denigration that is often directed at Obama in the US. Which is worse I wonder: To be black (socially speaking) in a black country or to be black in a white country?

Nationwide’s Cliff Hughes, who had predicted that Bruce Golding would win the 2007 election by a landslide, again misread the political landscape a year later. Both he and co-host Elon Parkinson called it for Portia’s rival, Peter, the day before the September 20 election. In this they were echoing the Gleaner’s sentiments as well as the Observer’s. The latter’s chief columnist, Mark Wignall, also convinced himself that Phillips ought to pull it off; in 2007 he too like Messrs Hughes and Robinson had thought that Golding would sweep the 2007 elections.

How to explain these failures on the part of Jamaica’s leading journalists? They all to a man seem to have substituted wishful thinking for objective journalistic analysis allowing their prejudices to inform their professional opinions instead of hard intelligence. What is worse, having made such gaffes, all concerned proceeded full steam ahead with their Portia-bashing, berating the newly elected PNP President for not mentioning her opponent’s name in her post-election address and continuing to cast aspersions on both her and the delegates who had elected her.

“The PNP is in danger of being overtaken by the bré bré…” proclaimed Hughes on the Monday following the election. Bré bré I understand is a word meaning ‘much, many, plentiful’; when used in the way Hughes employed it it signifies what Don Robotham means when he says ‘lumpen proletariat’ or what Upper Saint Andrew is fond of referring to as the ‘Buttoos’.

On Oct. 24th on the TV show, Impact, Cliff Hughes continued his prosecutorial harangue against the PNP leadership wielding the whip of political correctness against the hapless Simpson-Miller. Portia should have immediately checked the delegates when they booed Harry ‘Pip Pip’ Douglas, one of the losing Vice Presidential candidates, and she should have graciously (and with remarkable hypocrisy) acknowledged Peter Phillips by name and offered him a role in the opposition ranks (az cawdin to Hughes).

Not having done either she had once again (in the view of these journalists) demonstrated the lack of ‘leadership qualities’ Hughes and Co. have been accusing her of for some time now. Never mind that the delegates might have been expressing legitimate grievances when they booed Douglas. When he lost his seat in the 2007 general elections one of the newspapers explained why:

Douglas, the politician who some St. Mary residents have alleged honks the horn of his SUV more often than he represents them, has been driven into the political wilderness by the voters in South East St. Mary. He was popularly called ‘Pip Pip’, an indication that he did not even give a full blast of the horn whenever he drove through the constituency.

One might ask why Portia Simpson-Miller should have censored or otherwise interfered with the delegates freely expressing their view of a politician who clearly, judging by the above, had done very little for them.

The open contempt expressed for the rank and file members of the PNP has been breathtaking. On the day of the election Messrs Hughes and Parkinson characterized the votes in favour of Portia as coming from the ‘heart’ rather than the ‘head’. In other words according to the hosts of Nationwide the delegates had hung up their minds and allowed themselves to be moved by emotion rather than reason.

In an article titled “Who are these PNP delegates?” Horace Williams, a human-resource specialist, gave quite a different picture from that of the die-hearted Phillips supporters masquerading as journalists:

There has been much debate as to why the Arise and Renew team did not win the PNP’s presidential elections, given the large sum of money provided by the private sector, and the moneyed class, their level of organisation and level of intellectual input from the middle class, the backing from sections of the media and the overall level of advertising and media exposure. It is also felt that the Arise and Renew team presented a vision of the future for the country, which was clear, rational and evident for all the delegates to see.

What appears to have happened, in my estimation, is that all those so-called ordinary black, uneducated, unsophisticated, ill-informed and short-sighted persons who voted for Mrs Simpson Miller are singing a different tune from the so-called educated, visionary, upper class, intellectually sophisticated and far-sighted Jamaicans.

Over the last three or so decades, the lot of the ordinary black people in this country has not changed substantially. There has been some improvement, but much more could have been done. They have voted for successive governments, but all that appears to be needed of them is to dip a live finger in the ink on election day. After the party has been elected, ministers of Government who then move into upper-class neighbourhoods in St Andrew are appointed, are provided with multimillion-dollar luxury vehicles, and are provided with all the trappings of modern life. Their friends and relatives are allowed to plunder the resources of the country for their own benefit…

…So, Mrs Simpson Miller’s win may be seen in the context of a drowning man clutching at a straw. In my estimation, the delegates are saying to the owners of capital, the intellectuals, sections of the media, the browns, whites and the other class: “You have not helped us so far, or much more could have been done”. Let us cling to Sister P who is one of us, whom we can trust. In my estimation, they are saying: “We do not trust you; we do not trust your company; you want us at the back of the bus; your only intention is political and economic power for yourselves.”

This is hardly an example of people voting with their hearts instead of their heads is it? On the contrary the PNP delegates calmly and rationally examined the lay of the land and coolly decided where to cast their vote. Those who were swayed by emotion rather than rationality, their hearts rather than their heads, are all those media VIPs who called it for Phillips and the Arise and Renew campaign despite the political portents to the contrary. How credible are they now?

Photo by Varun Baker, http://www.varunbaker.com

A High Wind in Jamaica

He’s been here a few hours now. i don’t mind him; he’s a gentle soul compared to Emily and Dennis. Or Ivan. Ivan was terrible.

It’s been raining and gusting for some hours now, at least four or five. but we’re lucky, we have water and power so i can amuse myself on the internet and watch tv if i want. Barack is to speak shortly and i guess some people are all agog about that.

It’s not all as upbeat as i’m making out. There’ve been a few casualties–motor vehicle accidents some of them. A Police Inspector has been shot in St. Mary. A 50 year old man was killed while belatedly trying to prune a tree. i know all this from Nationwide Radio. Radio in Jamaica is the best. and Nationwide is arguably the best of local radio. Digital radio FM 720 in Kingston. The brainchild of Cliff Hughes, an old hand who has revolutionized local media, N’wide is my lifeline during these disruptive and distressing weather events. There’s something very comforting about having your favourite journalists on duty, keeping you company as it were, through the rough times. Emily Crooks and Hughes babysat us through Ivan the Terrible. Don’t know what we’d have done without them.

everytingkripsy left a hilarious note on the youtube video Hurricane! in my previous post:

I know unu a get prep for the storm and everyting but a wah yu a do wid so much kerosene!! mine unu blow up the yard.. lol.. good luck

Well, everytingkripsy, a kersene a run ting when di power gone; anyway, mi gone a watch Obama do his ting. till soon folks.