Night Of Savagery Offers A Glimpse Of What’s Really Happening In Jamaica…

MB

There are hun­dreds of cas­es of hor­rif­ic mur­ders com­mit­ted in Jamaica each year, that would cause any rea­son­able per­son of sound mind and judg­ment to say this can­not stand.
In most cas­es, the hor­rif­ic details are not shown to the Jamaican peo­ple. Media hous­es some­times do not have the imagery, and in oth­er cas­es have deter­mined that the images are far too grue­some for pub­lic con­sump­tion.
The val­ue of that strat­e­gy is arguable, as many Jamaicans still seem to be in the fog about the sav­agery of the Island’s crim­i­nals.

In inner-city com­mu­ni­ties, and now all across the Island, in once-peace­ful com­mu­ni­ties, peo­ple live in total fear of their own neigh­bors. They know that the men liv­ing next door are dan­ger­ous killers, but they are too ter­ri­fied to even report their activ­i­ties to the author­i­ties.

The last per­son exe­cut­ed in Jamaica was Nathan Foster, who was con­vict­ed of mur­der and hanged in 1988. The Jamaican Parliament then placed a mora­to­ri­um on the death penal­ty until 2009, when it was lift­ed.
Even so, since then, not a sin­gle per­son has faced the death penal­ty regard­less of the hor­rif­ic nature of the crimes they com­mit­ted.
Not only has there been no hang­ings ( the pre­vi­ous method of death for cap­i­tal offend­ers), on the rare occa­sion a mass mur­der­er is con­vict­ed, he is giv­en a laugh­able sen­tence, some­times as lit­tle as five years in prison or less.
The con­flu­ence of cozy com­plic­i­ty with crim­i­nal­i­ty at all lev­els, has served to embold­en tra­di­tion­al crim­i­nals, and has cre­at­ed a new set of even more dan­ger­ous trans-Atlantic crim­i­nal enter­pris­es.

Instead of tak­ing steps to pro­tect the coun­try and its inhab­i­tants from the mind­less killing machines, admin­is­tra­tions of both Political par­ties have opt­ed to go in the oppo­site direc­tion.
By that I mean, they have opt­ed to be more con­cil­ia­to­ry toward the crim­i­nal gangs which are the famil­ial base of the mur­der­ers.
Both polit­i­cal par­ties and ele­ments with­in the secu­ri­ty appa­ra­tus are affil­i­at­ed with ele­ments in the crim­i­nal under­world.
This was com­mon knowl­edge from decades ago when I was a law enforce­ment offi­cer.
Today, we know this from actions tak­en by the Americans in the can­cel­la­tion of visas and oth­er puni­tive mea­sures against politi­cians and law enforce­ment offi­cials.
We also see these asso­ci­a­tions man­i­fest­ed in the inabil­i­ty and unwill­ing­ness of the police to inves­ti­gate arrest and pros­e­cute cer­tain well-placed crim­i­nals.
In fact, it is well known that the Jamaican police only go after low-lev­el street crim­i­nals, while well-con­nect­ed gang­land afi­ciona­dos and their polit­i­cal spon­sor’s thumb their noses at the law with impuni­ty.

The two polit­i­cal par­ties pay lip ser­vice to the rule of law through high pro­file pho­to-ops and the pas­sage of tooth­less watered-down anti-crime mea­sures, while simul­ta­ne­ous­ly decon­struct­ing the poten­tial of the JCF to effec­tive­ly tack­le the gangs.
The pas­sage of the INDECOM Act is one such mea­sure which gives the impres­sion local­ly and inter­na­tion­al­ly, that the much-maligned police force was indeed guilty of wide­spread extra-judi­cial killings and oth­er acts of crim­i­nal­i­ty.
Sure, there were some extra-judi­cial killings and oth­er acts of crim­i­nal­i­ty with­in the con­stab­u­lary, but those were by-prod­ucts of polit­i­cal inter­fer­ence and the star­va­tion of the secu­ri­ty forces of vital resources. Show me a coun­try or a secu­ri­ty ser­vice that does not have those dark secrets in their past and present.
This does not mean that we agree with them. We work to make our secu­ri­ty ser­vices bet­ter there­by remov­ing the need for those prac­tices.
The per­cep­tion that the police were inher­ent­ly cor­rupt pre­sent­ed a gold­en oppor­tu­ni­ty in 2010 for the JLPs Bruce Golding to cre­ate INDECOM the Independent Commission Of Investigations and place at its head a known anti-polit­i­cal func­tionary Terrence Williams.
Terrence Williams’s broth­er was a junior min­is­ter in the admin­is­tra­tion.
The pas­sage of the INDECOM Act was one of the rare instances that both polit­i­cal par­ties agreed on a piece of leg­is­la­tion. Coming up with leg­is­la­tion which fur­ther ham­strung the police was some­thing both polit­i­cal par­ties could eas­i­ly agree on.
And they did. The result was a hor­rif­ic piece of leg­is­la­tion which could eas­i­ly be named the [crim­i­nal­i­ty enhance­ment act]. Instead, they named it the INDECOM Act.
The truth of the mat­ter is that this leg­is­la­tion would (a) fur­ther paci­fy the pop­u­la­tion in their favor against the hat­ed police and (b) give them a freer hand to con­tin­ue with their crim­i­nal affil­i­a­tions with a much weak­er and neutered police force.
But they were not done. A pha­lanx of for­eign-based human rights agen­cies set up shop on the Island. The Inter American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, and oth­ers all of a sud­den cared about poor Jamaicans well-being. Never mind that in the case of the birth­place of those agen­cies, the United States and Britain respec­tive­ly, poor black and brown peo­ple are treat­ed as dis­pos­able com­modi­ties.
Additionally, local human rights groups emerged, all have seats at the table. New leg­is­la­tion must first pass muster with them. Whatever laws are passed are basi­cal­ly tooth­less endeav­ors that do noth­ing to reme­di­ate the bur­geon­ing crime epi­dem­ic.
Jamaica is now con­strained by the United States and England as to how it can treat its most dan­ger­ous crim­i­nals. On the con­trary, no one gets to tell either coun­try how to pro­tect its cit­i­zens.
The JCF became a paper ele­phant.

Had the Bruce Golding admin­is­tra­tion sought to change the par­a­digm by invest­ing in the recruit­ment, train­ing and equip­ping of the JCF with the resources spent on INDECOM Jamaica would have had a first world police depart­ment, with first-world capa­bil­i­ties.
The gov­ern­ment of Jamaica spent: $366.492 mil­lion in fis­cal year 2016/​2017 on INDECOM, while the agency received $230.616 mil­lion from oth­er sources.
According to INDECOM, it receives fund­ing from var­i­ous inter­na­tion­al donors. This gives rise to the ques­tion, why?
Why are for­eign groups fund­ing a watch­dog group instead of assist­ing the Jamaica Constabulary Force with the resources it needs to fight trans-nation­al crime and ter­ror­ism?

INDECOM insists; that since incep­tion, it has also received sup­port by way of spon­sor­ship from inter­na­tion­al part­ners: the Department for International Development (DFID), the United States International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL), European Union (EU) and Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). DFID and EU pro­vide annu­al fund­ing used to off­set expens­es of the Commission to include pay­ments of salaries and inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized train­ing pro­grams. For 2017, the con­tri­bu­tions of our inter­na­tion­al spon­sors were direct­ly linked to the suc­cess­ful exe­cu­tion of the Commission’s host­ing of the Caribbean Use of Force in Law Enforcement Conference in May. https://​www​.inde​com​.gov.

It should be not­ed that INDECOM does no law enforce­ment work. And so the finan­cial resources it receives from its over­seas spon­sors, sup­pos­ed­ly from the United States, for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, are either(a) mis­used or (b) ques­tion­able in its des­ig­na­tion.
It is the JCF that is tasked with law enforce­ment, includ­ing the fight against ille­gal nar­cotics.
Why would the Americans in good faith give mon­ey to a [police over­sight group], under the guise of Narcotics and Law Enforcement?
If the Americans were seri­ous about Narcotics and law enforce­ment its mon­e­tary con­tri­bu­tion would have gone to the JCF for train­ing and equip­ping offi­cers to effec­tive­ly fight the scourge of illic­it drugs com­ing into the Island from South America and the guns del­ug­ing the Island from America’s own shores.

The entire­ty of the issues dri­ving crime on the Island is myr­i­ad and com­plex. Nevertheless, the fore­gone pro­vides a glimpse into the bel­ly of the beast.
Out of the incom­pe­tence and com­plic­i­ty of the two polit­i­cal par­ties comes the cre­ation and pro­lif­er­a­tion of mur­der­ous crim­i­nal gangs.
Jamaica has always strug­gled with main­tain­ing the rule of law, par­tic­u­lar­ly in cer­tain hotspots cre­at­ed and main­tained by .…..you guessed it.
Politicians.
However, the steps tak­en by the two polit­i­cal par­ties have led to a state of dread and fear across the Island. One such case which is chron­i­cled on Thursdays Observers, gives a mor­bid glimpse of what is real­ly hap­pen­ing even as politi­cians con­tin­ue to paint a pic­ture of progress and per­fec­tion.



OBSERVER STORY

JOEITH Lynch, 18, and her moth­er Charmaine Rattray were not total strangers to the group of about eight or nine maraud­ing gun­men who in July 2011 shot and hacked them to death before behead­ing them. But the ‘mem­o­ry’ of the sav­agery of that night was enough to dri­ve three of the five to con­fess their involve­ment, claim­ing that it was either they car­ry out the bru­tal crimes or be killed.

Caution state­ments entered on behalf of three of the five who yes­ter­day plead­ed guilty in the Supreme Court in down­town Kingston at the begin­ning of the tri­al, detailed the moments lead­ing up to the hor­rif­ic crimes and the days fol­low­ing, claim­ing they have been tor­ment­ed by mem­o­ries of the inci­dent.

I got involved in it though I could­n’t do noth­ing about it. Either I was involved or I would be killed. Is not some­thing that I wish­ful­ly want­ed to take part of. I know I was deal­ing with some seri­ous peo­ple. It was either I go or I die,” Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn read from one of the state­ments.

According to the accused, he was called and told that the two were to die because they had been wit­ness­es to the death of Scott Thomas (anoth­er indi­vid­ual in the area who was killed short­ly before) and “them talk too much”.

He said late that night about nine of them, all mem­bers of the noto­ri­ous Klansman Gang, went to the house in Lauriston, St Catherine, where he heard one female say “I did noth­ing” twice after the door was kicked off, fol­lowed by Lynch cry­ing for help and shout­ing the name of one of the accused who was known to her, fol­lowed by a gun­shot. He said the head of the moth­er was chopped off and tak­en away and he was sent back inside for Lynch’s head which he threw into a gul­ly as instruct­ed because it was “bleed­ing too much”.

One of the accused, who hap­pens to be a rel­a­tive of Lynch, in his cau­tion state­ment, said on the night in ques­tion he was home when he was approached by one of his cronies who told him that they were going on the road that night. He claimed that when he met with him lat­er that night he gave him a cut­lass and a file. They were joined by a few more men at which time he was told that “a Crystal (Joeith) and har mad­da wi a guh fah ’cause the gen­er­al sey dem fi dead”.

He said after the front door to the wom­en’s dwelling was kicked off, one of his allies said, “Si di gal deh, chop her up”. He claimed he pre­tend­ed to chop her three times, then chopped her the fourth time, but not with his “strength”. He said he was then asked, “A so yuh chop some­body?” before the cut­lass was tak­en away from him by anoth­er who pro­ceed­ed to fur­ther chop Lynch, who screamed his name twice before she was shot in the head by that indi­vid­ual.

He said he heard her moth­er in the oth­er room say­ing “The blood of Jesus is against you” before he heard gun­shots in that room. The accused claimed he then ran from the house in pur­suit of anoth­er indi­vid­ual who had been chopped by him dur­ing the ordeal. He does not, how­ev­er, know what hap­pened after­ward.

That’s all mi do, that’s all mi know what hap­pen; mi nevah know dem a go cut off dem head. Next morn­ing mi wake up and hear, mi feel so sad. After dat mi have sleep­less nights at home, and that’s all mi know, mi can’t sey a dat deh man cut off di peo­ple dem head cah mi nevah deh deh when di head dem a cut off,” he said in the state­ment.

Yesterday, the first wit­ness for the pros­e­cu­tion tes­ti­fied that upon being alert­ed about the inci­dent while on patrol in the wee hours of the morn­ing he pro­ceed­ed to the dwelling where, upon enter­ing, he observed the muti­lat­ed, head­less bod­ies of the women in pools of blood in their bed­rooms with “blood all over” the beds, three to four spent shell cas­ings in one room, and one spent shell in the oth­er.

Yesterday, DPP Lewellyn said the post-mortem results for Rattray showed that she had received eight chop wounds with the cause of death being trau­mat­ic shock caused by mul­ti­ple shots and chop wounds.

Lynch’s cause of death was also trau­mat­ic shock and mul­ti­ple chop wounds. She was shot in the head and also chopped in the face and on her hands.

The DPP, not­ing the men’s state­ments, point­ed out that “duress is not a defense to mur­der”. She said fur­ther that the men “knew they were going on a move to cause death, even if they did not indi­cate that they did the chop­ping or the shoot­ing”, though admit­ting to being armed with either a gun or a cut­ting imple­ment.

They were all there aid­ing and abet­ting… they were in com­mon design to cause the death of these women,” Llewellyn said, ref­er­enc­ing case law to detail why the pros­e­cu­tion had set­tled on the charge of non-cap­i­tal mur­der.

Yesterday, three of the five, in a sur­prise twist, plead­ed guilty to non-cap­i­tal mur­der, while the remain­ing two accused plead­ed not guilty to mur­der.

Currently, non-cap­i­tal mur­der cas­es, which can be tried with sev­en jurors, refer to those in which the par­tic­u­lar offense is not pun­ish­able by death.

The DPP, in mak­ing the open­ing sub­mis­sion and refer­ring to the three said, “The alle­ga­tions are per­haps the facts now that the men have plead­ed guilty.”

All five sus­pects lived on Rio Cobre Drive, a short dis­tance away from the home of the vic­tims. It is alleged that between 11:30 pm on July 19, 2011, and 5:45 am July 20, 2011, both deceased were shot, chopped and behead­ed. Both women had been alleged­ly warned that they were marked for death but the elder female stub­born­ly refused to relo­cate from the area, report­ed­ly say­ing “if is fi mi time is fi mi time”.

Prior to yes­ter­day’s pro­ceed­ings, the DPP had indi­cat­ed that she intend­ed to ask for the death penal­ty for the men who have been in cus­tody for nine years.

Social inquiry reports are to be pro­vid­ed for the three and Supreme Court Judge Justice Vivienne Harris said the sen­tenc­ing hear­ing for the men is set for Wednesday, December 11, at 2:00 pm.

The tri­al for the remain­ing two con­tin­ues today at 10:00 am and is expect­ed to last two weeks.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, a busi­ness own­er, avid researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.

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