ZOSO forces phone thief to retire

November 10, 2017
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force patrol the streets of Hannah Town in Kingston on Monday.
This STAR vendor was not permitted to enter the ZOSO on Albert Street in Denham Town.
Members of the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force on Little King Street, the new boundary of the second Zone of Special Operations in downtown Kingston.

Marlon Brown* was once a menace to unsuspecting members of the public in downtown Kingston. He was barefaced and would use his lightning quick, sticky fingers to steal mobile phones from persons in the busy market district.

However, the recent declaration of Denham Town as a zone of special operations (ZOSO) has forced Marlon to give up his criminal behaviour. He has given up stealing, opting instead to become a legitimate vendor.

"About three weeks now me a do it (sell), and it nuh bad. Mi a look fi upgrade the business soon," Marlon, 23, said. "ZOSO come in and me haffi think smart if a jailhouse like mi father, dead like mi uncle or mi nuh even know. So, from mi see dem drop ZOSO, mi just borrow a likkle change and start small."

Marlon said that he is one of several vendors in the capital who have been forced to give up criminality since the declaration of ZOSO.

He told our news team that he is not proud of what he used to do, and that if it was not for ZOSO that clamped down on his community, his days would be uncertain.

"Mi never know how me a go live a day time. Me go wid how di day run, just hunting. When me grab something, mi nuh know if me a go mek it to the community and can mask certain things. Sometimes you can't even mek di people dem who yuh live among know weh yaa gwan wid cause a nuh everybody support dem thing deh, cause me see man get shub out," Marlon said.




Earlier this week, a vendor told THE WEEKEND STAR that he has seen a decrease in phone-grabbing incidents and more men like Marlon have changed their ways.

"People can walk free and go bout dem business. Den nuh haffi worry bout nobody a grab dem jewellery or phone cause before ZOSO, a jus phone grab and dem ting deh. Vendor a get rob, dem a kill vendor, and di place tense," the vendor said.

Marlon said that ZOSO is good for the community and commuting public as the security forces are in control of the area.

"When you see all me go buy my goods and a sell and can save some money fi tek care of mi yute. Mi feel good. Mi did have it ruff, a true yuh nuh know. But ZOSO mek me haffi wise up and do the right ting. Mi love mi daughter and mi waa deh ya fi har, mi general," he said.

* Name Changed

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