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The past few days have seen organised, determined and viscous criminal elements, under the cover of misplaced loyalties, taking up and holding not only a community, ut a nation hostage. These men, and women who are in support of them, have managed to bring warfare to the streets of Kingston, again. They have flouted every known rule of law and took a fight to the security forces. A fight that was destined to fail. What have been the results? The security forces have managed to overwhelm, subdue and bring under control the situation in Tivoli. For want of a better term, mopping up operations are still underway and the statistics, explanations, justifications and cover-ups are yet to be settled. Many have died on both sides of the divide. Hardworking police officers and soldiers are now mourning the loss of colleagues and the injury suffered by others. Families of these men are now in mourning and will undergo uncountable days of mental suffering. Across the blockades, innocent civilians have been slaughtered. But the slaughter of these innocent men, just like the cancerous mayhem & melee perpetrated by the thugs, is not confined to Tivoli. Law abiding and socially secured members of society are whispering about our Jamaican men, poor, underpriviledged, unfortunate Jamaican men, who have also died at the hands of some cruel members of the security forces. Communities in the middle class belt of Kingston 20, Kingston 19 and Kingston 7 are now suffering at the hands of some perverse supporters of lawlessness.

But, we should have seen this coming and prepared for same. As expected, given the extradition debacle, violence erupted in the usual hotspots of Mountain View, Red Hills Road, March Pen Road and Brunswick Avenue aka Walks Road, as we mention a few. The capital of Kingston is now under siege as sporadic gunfire is taking place throughout several communities and the truth be told, we are unsure if it only the lawless civilians who are maliciously discharging their illegal weapons. The city is now under a “Limited State of Emergency” and civil liberties have been suspended. Supermarkets, banks, pharmacies, wholesales and other commercial enterprises are now closed in most of Kingston. Hundreds of civil servants are at home and the Treasury, having just passed an IMF test, will bleed uncontrollably. Those city dwellers who are forced to subsist on minimum wage by tax evading employers are worrying about their next meal. The delivery of gas and food supplies are being hampered and, if the situation persists, will have far reaching implications for communities between Morant Point and Negril. So much has happened, so much is happening and more is yet to happen.

The question at this stage is, “Given the socio-political situation that existed in Western Kingston, and the influence of criminal elements in that constituency throughout Jamaica, did the relevant authorities devise a workable plan in their determination to stamp out criminality”? Who prepared the plans to deal with the protection of children and public health workers, the flow of public transportation, food delivery, the safe and timely escort of gas tankers etc etc? Surely, given the extent of Mr. Coke’s alleged influence and enterprise, the powers that be, you and your advisors, must have considered all factors that fell outside the cross hairs of the sniper’s rifle.

Mr. Prime Minister, you apologised, spoke of atonement and begged our forgiveness for the deception in the Manatt affair. But Mr. Prime Minister, the deception continues. Politics is still lingering in the air and incompetence, lack of accountability and lack of remorse are all bosom buddies within your Cabinet. Resignation is not an option at this stage. A fundamental mess has been engineered by you and your advisors. The lives of people who place their trust in you – no matter their reasons for doing so – have been scarred for generations to come. There must have been a better way. But to cast blame is not our focus. How do we, as a society, remedy the wrong that has been slapped across our face. The wrong includes the tacit support of the said criminal elements by entities that claim to broker signed peace treaties, the tying of the hands of police officers and the Courts when it comes to Bail and the development and encouragement of the informer fi dead culture . Most importantly, we as a society have been wronged by the stark inability – or deliberateness – of the State to stem the flow of guns and ammunitions into the island. Mr. Prime Minister, accountability is demanded. Action must be taken. Leadership must extend beyond fine words and intellectual uppity and reach out in the form of meaningful action that makes the lives of my fellow Jamaicans secure and comfortable. The aim of any government is to assist all its citizens in the pursuit of happiness. Not the oppression of citizens, not the carousing with drug dons, not political games, not encouraging a culture of “we and dem”. Mr. Prime Minister, again, and we feel like a scratched CD, you are being asked to consider yourself a Leader for the People of Jamaica. If you cant be a Leader, as we look across the other side of Parliament, at those persons from that other party, we have one thought, “May God help us all”.

Yours sincerely

Belly Bang & Friends

Jamaica We Are Blessed.

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