St James councillor wants ban on ‘gun songs’

January 18, 2021
The 13 illegal handguns recovered during the operation at the Freeport wharf in Montego Bay.
The 13 illegal handguns recovered during the operation at the Freeport wharf in Montego Bay.

Councillor for the Granville division in the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC), Michael Troupe, is proposing that a request be made to Entertainment and Culture Minister Olivia Grange to ban music that glorifies a criminal or otherwise deviant culture.

"Some of our biggest artistes are now behind bars, and they are the ones telling the younger ones that guns are the order of the day. So every young boy now, as they start to creep, the first thing they find, they start to shoot with it. We need to change the culture, and we need to ask the Honourable Minister Grange to ban certain music, whether in private parties or in public or on radio," Troupe said, while addressing Thursday's monthly meeting of the StJMC.

"The young people of today, they listen to the artistes more than to the preacher. The gun, the bleached face, and all those things, it is the artistes that it is coming from; so the gun culture will always be with us unless we change the type of music that we have. Look on your grandson, as he starts to creep, he catches a pencil and goes 'boop-boop-boop'," Troupe added, while pantomiming the act of firing a gun.

He was responding to comments from Senator Charles Sinclair, the councillor for the Montego Bay North East division, regarding last Monday's discovery of 19 illegal firearms and 470 rounds of ammunition in a container at the Montego Freeport.

Classified as terrorists

While addressing the meeting, Sinclair declared that the persons behind the shipment of weapons should be classified as terrorists.

"I do not think it was just somebody on a frolic of their own who sent the shipment through a recognised port. It must mean there are persons who are in the system, whether they operate as stevedores or offloading ships, who must have been involved from within for somebody to take that chance to import 19 guns, because everything at the port is supposed to be scanned. It must mean that we have some people who can be branded as terrorists," said Sinclair.

Following Monday's seizure of the guns and ammunition, the Jamaica Constabulary Force disclosed that investigations are now under way to identify the persons behind the shipment of the weapons. They were found inside a barrel which was labelled as containing food items and toiletries.

Monday's seizure follows another major bust at the Freeport wharf in May 2019, when six illegal firearms and over 1,500 assorted rounds of ammunition were confiscated in a similar operation. A few days before that operation, over 1,800 assorted rounds of ammunition were found at the wharf.

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