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'Tired of war'

Decades-old deadly violence frustrates Jarrett Lane residents

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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OVERWHELMING expressions of frustration were yesterday voiced by residents of Jarrett Lane — the tough community in the Mountain View area of East Kingston which has been rocked by deadly intermittent violence for decades.

The residents expressed their annoyance with the violence a day after heavy gunfire in the area, which the police said erupted when they thwarted a planned attack on gangsters at Oliver Road by gunmen from nearby Jarrett Lane.

According to the police, the gunfight was so intense that they had to call for reinforcement from the constabulary and the Jamaica Defence Force.

“Mi tiad a it, but mi cyaan do nothing. Them want to control the entire place. We just have to keep our children and ourselves safe,” said one Jarrett Lane resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

According to the resident, a summer programme funded by politicians to engage children had to be suspended as a result of Sunday's gunfight.

Another resident, who operates a shop in the community, said she was “tired of talking about the war”.

“Nothing nah come out of it. From when this a gwaan and the law cannot stop it. It nuh mek no sense. We talk to reporters all the time,” the disappointed resident said.

Word in the community is that gangsters from Oliver Road had threatened to attack Jarrett Lane after the World Cup finals on Sunday. The Observer was also told that a warning was issued that the community would be attacked after the burial of a man who they believe met his demise at the hands of gangsters from Jarrett Lane.

However, Superintendent Victor Hamilton, who heads the police division with responsibility for the area, told the Observer that he was not aware of the threat.

But one elderly resident, who has been residing in the community for more than 40 years, insisted the threat was executed.

“Yuh done know, if a man come attack yuh, you are going to retaliate. Yuh nuh need no eyeglass to see that,” the man said, adding that he was at his gate on Sunday when he heard explosions for over an hour.

He, too, expressed frustration with the gang war and lamented the fact that he has to live with it.

The senior citizen also said that, based on what he has had to endure for decades, the fighting will never end.

Some residents said they were still trying to fathom the cause of the fighting, noting that it was not political.

“Wi want the peace, yes, but them back round a Rockfort nuh want no peace; ah them always a start it. Nuh matter how the place quiet, them always a come, come start it. Yesterday mi sit down there so, music a play up there so, mi not even did know seh shot a fire up there so,” one resident, who has been living in the area for more than 40 years said as she pointed to the hills.

“Ah when the music lock off now wi hear the explosions in the hill. Dem always a tek it that way... Mi sick a them something here. Dem nuh want no peace; no matter how the place calm and nice, after a while everything just messed up,” the resident lamented.

Meanwhile, another resident, who asked not to be identified, disputed the police report that men from his community fired at the cops.

“There is some information going about from some shooting thing that took place yesterday. On the news they are saying Jarrett Lane, Mountain View... shoot-out with police; nothing like that took place in Jarrett Lane. The soldiers were here yesterday for a period of time... and they were very observant, moving about. At no time at all was there any shoot-out along Mountain View, Jarrett Lane community, Norman Gardens community; there was no shoot-out,” the resident said.

When the Observer visited Oliver Road, the area was tense as police as well as representatives from the Independent Commission of Investigations processed the scene where the shoot-out is said to have taken place.

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