Bloody Island – Crime in Jamaica

The Jamaica Observer published this article on May 26, 2010:

As Usain Bolt was running in China’s IAAF Diamond League for his future and for Jamaica, criminals ran after police at the Denham Town Police Station, police ran for their lives, and Bruce Golding “ran his mouth” declaring a state of public emergency. Jamaica made world news. It wasn’t our funny stories about the island of wood and water. It seems that stories of our sea, rivers, springs and trees have long been rewritten with stories of blood – children’s blood, women’s blood, gunmen’s blood.

Even inside the church, there has been blood, but not the blood of Calvary. There has been so much blood on this island of water that at times, the news of blood does not sound like news. Instead, it becomes a sad, daily task to read news stories about the dead. Even when happy, some Jamaicans love the scent of blood. These dress up and step into a dancehall. There, they shake their buttocks or shape their hand like a gun and wave it. They shake energetically and wave forcefully, but in a rejoicing fashion. They rejoice to the songs of blood, to calls for murder.

So the state of public emergency is not alarming. For a long time Jamaica has been in a state of emergency. There just hadn’t been an emergency threat to a prime minister’s seat. Perhaps I should become an obeah man, because I see a future. I see Jamaicans who will grow tired after a few days of gun-firing. I see a Bruce Golding who will continue to keep his seat as prime minister. I see Jamaica very soon going back to business as usual – gun-toting business, road-blocking business, buttocks shaking, hand waving, and blood will continue to change the colour of our sea, rivers, springs. It will continue to stain the roots and barks of our trees. Soon, we might be known as the Island of Blood.

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