We have been discussing criminals across Jamaica for a while now, starting with a list of the islands most dangerous. From our series, which area do you think produced the most criminals? Let us take a look at the tourist destination Montego Bay.
St. James, like other parishes in the country, is characterized by poverty and poor infrastructure. Even individuals who relocated to jumpstart their future were met by the fury of corruption, crime, unemployment and the impoverished streets hungry for trapping people in the doomed path of criminality.
The city of Montego Bay is one of those judge a book by its cover type of places. Driving the coastline will present to you white sand beaches, skyscraper hotels, tourists roaming the streets in bliss, but a quick drive into the inner city, one turn off any main road, will reveal to you beaten cars, large potholes, many young men sitting on the side of the road with worn-out shoes and a hungry look on their faces. Yet, this is what seemed to attract people of the opposite sex. This is a mayhem for disaster, as it is human nature to crave sexual desires.
Some gangs which were bred by Montego Bay and are very popular names in the streets are Stone Crusher, One Order, and Piranhas.
These men, who were often poor delinquents, started their crime journey by paying for weapens. Once these men were armed and dangerous, they could use their armor to their advantage.
The leaders of Montego Bay were able to keep their main monkeymaker (tourism) brewing once the crimes of the delinquents were kept in the inner cities. That does not necessarily mean they facilitated it, it simply meant that their main priority was not to diminish crime because tourism still stood a great chance.
By 2003, there was a steady import of guns onto the island. This became a problem because it is not the security forces who were now heavily armed; it was the criminals who were at sustained war amongst themselves. The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) was not required to address the problem until they found themselves amidst gunfire in Canterbury, where they were threatened with gunsmoke for eight (8) nonstop hours. Though the police were unlikely to be completely unaware of the illegal guns in the country, this incident likely served as an eye-opener to the severity of young, heartless criminals in possession of deadly weapons.
After the incident, the police found a colossal bag of over 1000 rounds of ammunition. Think about it- the ammunition was not found before the incidnt, two weeks after the incident or after just a few shots were fired. The bag was found after gunmen in the area had an eight-hour shootout with police. This did not shake their weapon cabinet. They were ready to have another eight-hour war at the flip of a coin.
There has been a steady increase in murders in St. James, starting at 106 in 2003 to a higher number for only a fraction of 2022. There were 107 murders in the parish from January 1 to June 18, 2022. During this period of a lack of effective intervention by the government, criminals turned crime into a game. They all competed for the title of most feared, and in order to achieve this, they would compete by killing people in the most brutal ways.
Have you ever watched those documentaries about serial killers who would have a certain ritual after adding to their list of victims? One particular criminal, Bigga Crime, marked his crimes with deheading.
At this point in time, Montego Bay was so condensed with criminals that the city started shipping criminals off to other parishes like Jamaica would ship bauxite to foreign countries. As if it were a learning institution, the criminals even toured Tivoli Gardens because of Dudus’ connections with some criminals of the city, one particular criminal being Doggie.
Some criminals had more interesting ways of marking their crimes. Doggie, for example, would not sever the head of his victim, or cut of his finger. What he would do, though, is wear full white while murdering people.
He escaped the incursion but was later surrounded by police near the border of Manchester and Clarendon, who then shot and killed him.
See part 2 for more details.
Kristen Francis – Crime reporter