MoBay needs help

July 01, 2016
Jermaine Barnaby/Freelance Photographer Soldiers show their skills during the Exercise Tradewinds 2016 Media Day at Up Park Camp in Kingston recently.
File Police and soldiers patroling the streets of Tredegar Park, St Catherine, in the immediate aftermath of the massacre of eight persons in 2010.


All hell is breaking loose in Montego Bay. People are being shot and killed left, right and centre. People there are telling me that it's like watching the movie Scarface.They are telling me about a woman running the lotto scam who is taking out rivals, who, while expecting a share of spoils, are getting pumped full of bullets instead.

Invariably reprisal killings will become the norm, and before you know it Montego Bay, once considered the jewel of the Caribbean, will resemble Fallujah in the height of the Iraqi war.

Meanwhile, crickets are chirping in St Andrew at Jamaica House.

Things have been getting out of hand in western Jamaica for a while now, and just recently a Canadian tourist was shot dead. At the time Government moved on the situation with some urgency vowing to bring the killers to justice.

Which brings me to my question this week.

Why are we not hearing anything from Government about what is happening in MoBay where several people have been gunned down by thugs bearing high-powered weapons over the past 72 hours?

There has been no statement from the Minister of National Security or the Prime Minister seeking to assure the law-abiding citizenry that the authorities will get to those responsible and effect a return to peace.


upper classes


Are we to believe that we have to wait until another tourist is killed before we are spurred into action?

Sometimes I get the feeling that the powers that be really don't care enough about the welfare of the common man, but as soon as harm befalls someone from the upper classes or from another country then we get all hot and bothered.

This is one of the reasons why people don't trust the authorities and why they are inclined to take matters in their own hands, and are very reluctant to cooperate with investigators.

Putting myself in the shoes of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, there is no way I would not have already issued a statement and at least rolled out the army reserves to quell any further flare ups and provide John Public with the assurance that I am looking out for their best interests and that I want them to be safe.

However, what I sense - and I sensed it with the previous administration too - is that the crime situation is a little too much for the authorities to handle and they are being overwhelmed mentally and physically by the frequency and hostility of the attacks.


safe place


What I do know is that something has to be now. The world is watching.

We are already being branded heartless violent, international con artists, so the last thing we want to do is give the impression that this country is not a safe place to visit. Well, truth is it isn't, but it seems that in recent weeks it has become a lot less safe.

The scammers have the resources to buy the biggest high-powered weapons available, and based on what we have seen over the past few days in Montego Bay, they are not afraid to the use them. How often they are prepared to use them depends largely on how the authorities are prepared to respond.

I am sure it is not a secret who the protagonists are. The first step for me is that they are rounded up by the army.

From there we do everything possible to cauterise the blood-letting.

In the meantime, a proper strategy needs to be employed that will let people know that the Government is not prepared to put up with the madness anymore and that they are willing to take steps necessary to bring the madness to an end.

Send comments to

Other Commentary Stories