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MAVIS BECKLES: War raging on our doorsteps


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Some people might look at the pictures in the newspapers of a lot o’ young women dancing and parading wid placards in the streets of West Kingston, Jamaica, and think tuh demselves how silly for big, intelligent people tuh announce dat they would die for a big drug man and gun runner. But little do they know dat there is more in the mortar than the pestle.Christopher “Dudus” Coke is a don, deh name given tuh a big drug man in Jamaica. It is said dat his father, Lester Coke, was a big drug lord too; they used tuh call him Jim Brown. Duh say dat this Jim Brown was a political activist in Edward Seaga time and dat he played a big part in the 1980 Jamaica elections when 800 got killed.Ya’all would remember dat it was the same Seaga who build up Tivoli Gardens sometime in the 70s or so, and duh use tuh call it “Back A Wall”. I hear dat the original residents had tuh move out and this is how a  lot o’ the slums in  Jamaica come about. I also hear ’bout another slum dat dem create ’pon the side of a mountain. They called it Back Bush and the police could never get up there. Evahtime the police try tuh get up in, by the time duh get there, evahthing including the guns used tuh be long gone and  hide way.I hear a lot o’ people opening duh mouts and talking all kinds o’ things, and half o’ duh doan know one frups ’bout the things duh talking ’bout. Some people does get on and talk like um is the whole o’ Jamaica dat is involved in this thing. Sometimes it better fuh some o’ duh not tuh say anything at all than tuh open duh mouts and talk  a whole lot o’ junk,Wunna think dat this violence now start? Wunna think it just happened overnight? Look, this whole thing started wid a lot o’ unscrupulous people who use poor, unintelligent people tuh do dem dirty work tuh get power. But as I always say, wha’ doan happen in a year does happen in a day; the truth got tuh come out sometime.Look, I would never forget as long as I live, the terror, the blood shed, the ignorance and the man Bob Marley who come from right down in there in Trench Town, trying in song and action tuh bring peace between Seaga and Michael Manley.In dem days I use tuh spend a lot o’ time in Jamaica. I had quite a few friends there and I remember dem telling me ’bout the garrisons – dese places or communities where people use tuh control. Places dat ya couldn’t just up and go into; places dat use tuh connect electricity from the electric poles tuh one body house and from dah body house tuh the other body house. Deh same thing wid water. Sometimes people get electrocuted running wires, but not a soul couldn’t do nutten ’bout it ’cause they couldn’t get there so.I remember looking at the contrast – the massive difference between the stinking rich and the bitter poor. I remember  in dem early days when there was a place called Beverly Hills dat was up ’pon top a hill and every house had a swimming pool and at least two or three vehicles parked in the garage or driveway. And I remember looking down ’pon the slum below. I cahn remember the name now but it looked like a massive junkyard wid all the galvanize, the rusty paling, the ends o’ clothes pelt ’bout the place; it looked like a dump. This was Kingston.I remember in dem early days how shocked I was when I left all kinds o’ Rastas in Barbados and when I get to Jamaica I could only see two or three walking the roads. Duh tell me then dat the Rastas used tuh live in the hills. But dat was a while back and things  and people have changed  so drastically.Some years later I remember hearing gun shots at night and praying dat I would be safe and nuh stray bullets wouldn’t miss and find duh way in my apartment.So when you get people like the Lester Coke and Christopher “Dudus” Coke and all the other “dons” dat ya ain’t hear nutten ’bout yet, but duh there controlling all the other slum areas and garrison communities dat nuhbody, including the police, cahn get in tuh, all o’ this didn’t just up and happen yesterday, ya know.People set these up fuh their own benefit; people control dem so dat those there would remain poor, dependent and ignorant, while they would become rich and powerful. • Mavis Beckles was born and raised in  The Orleans and has an opinion on everything.