You are here

COC-Related Deaths in Jamaica

From an article in The Christian Chronicle by Erik Tryggestad (I remember Erik being on the Lipscomb "Babbler" newspaper staff) titled "Churches mourn seven Jamaican slaying victims":

The recent slayings of seven people - ages 3 to 40 - with ties to churches of Christ in Jamaica has church members across the country mourning and Jamaica's prime minister denouncing the tide of violence sweeping the island nation. Mourners packed the Morant Bay Church of Christ for the funeral of six members of a church family - Patrice George McCool, 28; her children Sean Chin, 9; Jihad George McCool, 6; and Lloyd McCool, 3; her aunt Terry-Ann Mohommed, 40; and another family member, Jesse O'Gilvie, 9. Their bodies were in three locations, some with slashed throats and one stuffed in a barrel... Minister Michael Dehaney conducted the funeral, which included a speech from Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who called for a time of prayer and fasting as Jamaica struggles to cut its high crime rate. Days after the funeral, the Mona Church of Christ in St. Andrew laid to rest 15-year-old Jordano Flemmings, who was fatally stabbed in a robbery while walking home from church.

An article in the by Carol J. Williams in the LA Times mentions the Morant Bay slayings, calling them a "suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal":

Contrary to the islands' laid-back, reggae-rocked, calypso-serenaded image, the Caribbean is awash in murderous anger. Homicide rates have soared - Jamaica last year achieved the alarming distinction of being called the homicide capital of the world, and Trinidad isn't far behind. With suspects walking free because of ineffectual courts and corrupt law enforcement, vigilante justice is also on the rise.... Although the roots of the violence differ from island to island, some striving to contain it point to the region's shared afflictions of poverty, social inequity and racial resentment stemming from its history of slavery and colonization. "This is not just about people losing confidence in law enforcement. This is an eye-for-an-eye society," said Deputy Commissioner Mark Shields of the Jamaican Constabulary Force. "Even if you had an effective system of criminal justice, when children are murdered, you'd have mob rule." He was alluding to one of the more grisly recent slayings, the Feb. 25 suspected revenge attack for a failed drug deal that left a Morant Bay woman, her aunt and four children with their throats cut and the neighborhood enraged. Residents of the quiet community east of Kingston, the capital, stormed the police station demanding, "Give him to us!" after the suspect turned himself in for his own protection... Jamaica has been tabbed the world's most homicidal country since reporting 1,674 killings last year, a rate of 62 per 100,000 residents. The country had ranked third in the most recent U.N. global assessment, in 2000, with 32 per 100,000, behind Colombia's 61 and South Africa's 49. By contrast, anarchic Haiti, usually seen as the most unstable country in the Caribbean, had fewer than 20 homicides per 100,000 last year. Jamaica's shootings, stabbings and rapes mostly occur in Kingston, but bystanders and even tourists may be at greater risk as the incidence increases. "No one in his right mind goes to Kingston," said Rensselaer Lee, a security analyst and senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Washington, who has long studied crime in the Caribbean. "People can be shot walking down the streets. The violence is mainly turned inward, poor people killing each other. But increasingly people are getting caught in the cross hairs of these gangs and getting killed."

From an article in The Jamaica Observer:

The deaths sparked much public outrage amongst residents in St Thomas, and after a suspect was apprehended, many of them descended upon the Morant Bay Police Station, where he was being held, and demanded that he be turned over to them. This prompted a speedy transfer of the suspect from Morant Bay to a police station in Kingston. Still seething, the residents found recourse in setting fire to a house allegedly belonging to the suspect last Tuesday. Two rooms and the contents of the back of the house were scorched in the blaze.

Another article in The Jamaica Oberver describes Jamaica's new prime minister's remarks at the memorial service held at the Morant Bay church of Christ:

"Let us use this occasion of immense grief to make a safer Jamaica for our children," Simpson Miller said in her tribute. "We must stop the slaughter of our children, mothers, fathers and grandparents. We need to engage all sectors of society to play their part." She noted that nearly 100 children were killed last year and called for an end to the "savagery and barbarism". "We need to take back the power from the criminals and restore it to peace-loving citizens by influencing change in the society," she said. In a symbolic gesture of unity, she invited Golding, the MPs and the police commissioners onto the platform to stand beside her. "We need unity of purpose and to demonstrate that we are serious, because we need to secure the future of our children," Simpson Miller said. The six were honoured with numerous tributes in song and poetry by friends, family members and former schoolmates of the children.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer