"Four killed as Jamaicans clash over drug lord"
Reuters (May 24, 2010)
"Soldiers and police stormed a Kingston slum on Monday and traded gunfire with supporters of an alleged Jamaican drug lord who faces extradition to the United States.
"At least four people have been killed, including two policemen, one soldier and a civilian, and several others were wounded in two days of violence.
The government declared a state of emergency on Sunday in volatile sections of the capital as Prime Minister Bruce Golding vowed "strong and decisive action" to restore order.
"The limited emergency in Jamaica, a popular Caribbean tourism destination, covered districts where gunmen shot up or set fire to five police stations and carried out carjackings and looting on Sunday.
"There were unconfirmed reports of additional civilian deaths and reports that military helicopters dropped explosives on the Tivoli Gardens neighborhood of West Kingston where alleged drug lord Christopher 'Dudus' Coke is believed to be hiding out.
"The government has called on Coke to surrender to face a U.S. judicial request seeking his extradition on cocaine trafficking and gun-running charges.
"U.S. prosecutors have described Coke as the leader of the 'Shower Posse,' which murdered hundreds of people by showering them with bullets during the cocaine wars of the 1980s...."
The BBC had a more conversational - or rambling - article on the situation in Jamaica:
"Kingston under siege"
BBC News (May 25, 2010)
"As I drive through the city, my taxi driver tells me that he is going to have to charge extra: 'Everywhere is blocked up, it's just turn, turn, turn.'
"I am just trying to get into the main commercial district of the capital, New Kingston, but the journey provides a snapshot of the situation the country finds itself in.
"As we head up one road we spot the few vehicles on the road doing sharp U-turns. Then I hear it, the sound of automatic weapon fire...."
The BBC article, by Nick Davis, has the virtue of giving more background on the Jamaican approach to government than you'll find most places.
"...'Nobody can steal round here without his say-so, nobody carries out rape round here, they'd be dead.'
"I was worried for my safety but was told that nobody would touch me and in the early hours of the morning I walked out of the community, something that would be unheard-of in other more volatile communities on the island.
"He was seen as the boss who cared for his community, providing what the state had not: safety...."
"...The tough inner city communities of Kingston are not called garrisons for nothing.
"Controlled by an 'area leader' - the island's euphamism for the criminal bosses who are better known as 'dons' - local strongmen can control a few blocks to whole swathes of the city.
"The power they have stretches from the gully to the Gordon House, the seat of government...."
The situation, as described in the BBC piece, reminds me of Chicago, several generations back. My father grew up in a town not far from there, and spoke a few times of the days when control of Chicago was, for practical purposes, in the hands of people other than the elected officials.
As colorful as that was, I don't approve. However, I think people put up with the occasional 'offer I couldn't refuse,' and the sanctioned criminal activity for as long as they did: because the system worked. Chicago's bosses were aware that their power depended on the acquiescence, if not support, of the people living in their territory. For that reason, I'm told, problems with sewers, street repairs, or other practical concerns were dealt with quickly and efficiently.
Now, if only legally elected officials would get a clue about that sort of boring detail.
And - quite seriously - you might consider praying for the folks in Jamaica. No matter how today's crisis turns out, they're going to need help. Just a suggestion, though.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
"Four killed as Jamaicans clash over drug lord"
|Visit us online:|
|Spiral Light Candle|| • Find a Retailer|
• Spiral Light Candle online store
" Coconut crab " AbsoluteAstronomy.com " The coconut crab, Birgus latro, is the largest land-living arthropod in the world a...
(from INKCINCT Cartoons, used w/o permission) I very seldom copy an entire post in this blog, but trying to describe this cartoon would h...
Updated (May 23, 2010) The Lemming doesn't often revisit a topic quite this exactly: but the Varma Mansion is special. Besides, Contemp...
" The Ingomar Club, Carson Mansion, Eureka, California " The Ingomar Club has owned the Carson Mansion since about 1950, and mai...
" After Some Encouraging Signs, Architecture Billings Index Drops Substantially " Architect's Guide to Glass (Dec 16, 2009 ) &...
Before anything else, repeating from an earlier post: Google has launched a 'people finder' for Japan, in Japanese, English, Korea...
" Crossed-eyed opossum becomes German media star " BBC News (January 11, 2011) " A cross-eyed opossum called Heidi, who is...
" Gov. Jindal Follow-up: What Is 'Volcano Monitoring'? " LiveScience (February 25, 2009) " After President Obama...
New Montauk Monster Photo " Montauk Monster is Back: Photo Revealed " (May 13, 2009) When one of my daughters heard that the Mon...
"The coolest bedroom in the World" (mystemornings, via Natuba, used w/o permission) Posted on Natuba (June, 2008) I agree: it&...
This software and science stuff might still be interesting, though. Or, not.
The Lemming thinks it's interesting: Your experience may vary.