Last year when the fabulous Mr. Shields arrived from Scotland Yard, there were naysayers, although not many. Jamaican women love tall, good looking men.
Since then, the news on crime has been getting better and murder has been trending down. See all the blow-by-blow here.
Now if we could just clone him……..
And someone, probably Portia, should get ready to acknowledge our Minister of National Security, Peter Phillips, for living up to his reputation “Solid as a rock” .
7 thoughts on “Jamaica’s murder rate drops ! DCP Mark Shields still fabulous !”
mark keep on the good work .Five members of my family where cops in …french Canada .We may share ghost in our genes.
Mark, you are a nazi who nobody has heard of in england, jamaicans tell me more than you.
I wrote to you earlier because I reported graffitti on the side of Saint Andrews High School for Girls in Kingston in January with a picure of a smoking gun saying ‘Mark Shields where are your wife and children’. If I hadn’t done that, then what would have been the consequences for Shields, trying to call himself a sex symbol in Jamaica, when the girls want to kill him. That is pathetic, he can’t even say thank you, what a big man is he, I’m 12 years younger than he is, and I’ve got manners and decency beyond what he can even imagine to have reported that to Scotland Yard. Where’s my free holiday and the offer of a job in Kingston, at over three times the pay rate of a regular Jamaican police officer.
A case for Trelawny’s Freemans Hall
Of Bats, Butterflies, Bauxite and the Cockpits
O. Dave Allen
It was a monumental error in judgment on the part of the organizers of the 9th Trelawny Yam Festival to stage this year’s event at Hague in Northern Trelawny. If its objective was to showcase themselves to the estimated 20,000 additional visitors that were anticipated to visit Jamaica during Cricket World Cup they failed. Instead they have effectively alienated their primary stakeholders, the farmers and community of Southern Trelawny to whom the people looked to for guidance and leadership. The Southern Trelawny Environmental Agency was the most strident advocate for that forgotten community. Swayed by the bottom line, the organizers have squandered the goodwill they justly earned over these many years. The staging of the Yam Festival in South Trelawny gave recognition to the yam farmers, Albert Town, the neighboring communities, small traders like “nutscy” from Freemans Hall along with various commercial interests far and wide.
From First Hill with its lush canopy that betrays the rich flora and fauna that lies ahead, the enthralling Mahogany Hall, punctuated by cascading water falls, treacherous and precipitous chasms and gorges at Alps and mysterious rock formations from Sawyers to Ulster Spring, mounds of yams were on display; corn; banana and soup lined the meandering tracks that leads to the much anticipated Albert Town, this is repeated easterly from the windy plain of Troy along the road to Warsop and westerly the children at Highgate Hall welcomed the visitors with their infectious smiles, all part of the allure that represents the essence of the Yam festival . In the early days of the yam festival it was seen as an annual pilgrimage to the heart land of Jamaica, of plain and simple hardworking ,decent folks reminiscent of a life we left behind.
Bottom line cannot be the only consideration in the mounting of what has become a Southern Trelawny institution, the yam Festival.
The Yam Festival came at an opportune time when the future and fortunes of South Trelawny is being decided upon and a rigorous propaganda campaign launched to keep the Cockpit pristine. The staging of this festival in Albert Town would have given us once again the opportunity to revisit this national treasure, the Cockpit comingling with underdevelopment and poverty.
We are well aware of the limitation imposed on organizations for adequate space to accommodate the growing demands of the Yam Festival. Before the General Elections of 2002 however, discussions were initiated with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Member of Parliament Mrs. Doreen Chen along with the organizers to address the issue of venue. The Rock Spring property owned by the Dixon family was recommended as the preferred location to stage the annual yam festival, Three millions dollars was approved by Cabinet to assist with the preparation of a suitable venue. The M.P, Mrs. Doreen Chen had some concerns in respect to the terms and conditions of the leases and proffered Freemans Hall as an alternative, as a consequence the offer to lease the Rock Spring property was subsequently withdrawn. Nothing further was heard on the matter and we all know that the JLP Member of Parliament Mr. Devon Mc Daniels has abandoned the constituency. Abandoned at a time when the people of South Trelawny need strong advocates that will speak to the advancement of their livelihoods if not their prosperity.
The current campaign against bauxite mining in the Cockpit country is too one sided and has not addressed the needs and concerns for the people of Southern Trelawny. I just do not trust these Greeks bearing gifts. I am sure that the respected and long standing environmentalist John Maxwell would agree that before any decision is taken on this important matter that there should be a public consultation where the peoples of the Cockpit are involved. While Yam sticks and fertilizer are two critical inputs that place a serious burden on the production and productivity of this hardworking farming community it is not their only concern. Firstly, the people must be sufficiently armed with a cost benefits analysis of mining bauxite in the Cockpit in order that they can participate intelligently in the decision making process. They who have so much to lose should be consulted on the best use of the land in the Cockpit country, and in the likely event that they should relent, what are the trade offs?
For whom much is being asked to defer immediate gratification for the benefit of future generations should be central to the decision making process. There are enormous economic benefits to be had from the mining of bauxite in the cockpit, not only for the transnational’s, according to The Jamaica Caves Organization, ‘to feed a little more money into the pockets of those who already have more than their fair share” but immediately the property value of Allsides would increase astronomically to the benefit of the small land owners. Should the people of Wilson Valley continue to fetch water from way a side tanks while forfeiting the prospect of a well paid job in a bauxite plant in preference to be the gate keepers of the Spring Gardens caves? What are the incentives being offered to compensate for the loss of income? If not bauxite, then what? This is where the political directorate should use this debate to leverage development opportunities for the people of Southern Trelawny.
The following excerpt is taken from the World Bank Development Report of 2000- 01 written By S. Jacqueline Grant and Toby Shillito, Island in a Turbulent World. This is an example of the injustice meted to the people of Freemans Hall with its Population 1,255 – 2000.
The area used to consist of sugar plantation that relied on slave labour. Today people farm tiny hillside plots while the fertile flatlands are still owed by a half dozen families with holdings of several hundred acres. Landowners do not reside in the area. There is no running water and many homes do not even have latrines. For every two women living in Freemans there is only one man; but 70 percent of households are headed by men, most of whom are grandfathers. A local high school graduate estimates that only 10 per cent of the men and 35 per cent of women are literate. Ninety percent of the men are farmers and most women are engaged in household task.
It is hoped that the lobby to keep the Cockpit pristine will use their considerable resources to come up with a business plan that would reduce poverty and generate wealth in those communities that would not compromise the environmental integrity of this national treasure.
In the final analysis, consider this, poverty is the greatest threat to the environment, already we have seen where the very forest that we are seeking to preserve are divested of its tree covering in pursuit of yam sticks. We have witnessed slash and burn practices that have led to soil erosion and the sedimentation of the Quashie River, at Freeman’s Hall, that we are seeking to protect. It is an act of environmental injustice to ask the people of Freemans Hall to protect the water sources of the Martha Brea while they must go without piped water. Forty per cent of the source of our water is to be found in the Cockpits and yet the people are condemned to be the ewers of wood and the carrier of water.
In an effort to address the inequitous distribution of land and the poverty associated with South Trelawny, Norman Manley and the Peoples National Party Government in 1957 acquired, subdivided and distributed the 4,200 acres Allsides property under the Land Settlement Act. Stretching from Wait-a-bit, Wire Fence and Stettin to Rock Spring and Troy. Sections of other properties were also acquired and distributed to the small famers of South Trelawny including Joe Hut and Freemans Hall under the governments land settlement programme. Fifty years have since passed and these small famers have yet to receive title to their land.
The concerns of the small farmer are not factored into the discussions in this skewed debate on bauxite mining in the cockpit. Who really speaks for the people of South Trelawny? We must be wary of these modern day missionaries with their civilizing missions along with their local lackeys and t-shirt clad dreadlocked mascots, commissioned to legitimize and to validate their alien ambitions. For I suspect that behind their benign campaign there is a political agenda.
The disrespectful tone and manner of the protagonist does not endear patriotic Jamaicans to the cause of the Jamaican Caves Organization and I quote from their web page”We urge all visitors to this page to read up on the threats, and to send letters and emails to both the Jamaican press and appropriate Jamaican government departments (start with Portia, and then work your way down). We also encourage expatriates to bring this to the attention of the press in their adopted countries. To put a stop to this, pressure must be put on the Jamaican government from every possible direction.”
While there are valid and legitimate concerns expressed by the strident campaigner to preserve the habitat of the butterflies and bats very little is said about the livelihood for the small famers and those poor souls at Freemans Hall who are still awaiting relief from devastation of hurricane Gilbert.
The recently announced $64.5 million road improvement being done in Trelawny including road works form Ulster Spring to Freeman Hall through to Stettin main road and Litchfield to Joe Hut was discussed and was agreed upon to facilitate the Yam Festival at Freemans Hall. At least that was Mrs. Chen’s agenda before her defeat in the 2002 general Election.
In Freeman’s Hall, one of the communities where one of two boxing plants was located, the community has become desolate and the prosperity that once existed is replaced by the scourge of crime. The area has now been black-listed by the Trelawny police high command because of its penchant for gun violence I must confess, Freemans Hall has a very bad reputation. It is the abode of murderous thugs, both homegrown and imported. It was not always like that. The slippery slope of Freemans Hall began with the brutal murder of Mr. Seymour Tomlinson, a well loved man who served the community well. We hope that a fitting memorial will be erected in his honour. This single act has further demonized that once prosperous and productive community. Notwithstanding the aforementioned Freemans Hall deserves a second chance, not only for bats and butterflies, but also for the good and useful people who reside there.
According to a recent newspaper account “Twenty years ago, banana was the life blood of communities like Freeman’s Hall,” said south Trelawny farmer Lincoln Reid, who has since ceased cultivating bananas. “In the 70s, we used to have a thriving banana industry, and between the boxing plant, which has now been closed, and the farms, some of which no longer exist, there was employment for every willing hand”. “When we had our banana industry, Freeman’s Hall was a God-fearing community with hardworking people,” said a seemingly frustrated Mr. Reid. “We used to be thriving, but all that has been replaced by hardship”. Lamented Mr. James, another farmer.”In years when we had the boxing plant, jobs were plentiful”, “Today; all I can see are idle young boys roaming the community rubbing ganja spliffs in the middle of their hands. Idle hands are everywhere.”
I urge the government and the Hon. Roger Clarke Minister of Agriculture and Lands to reconsider giving support to the people of Southern Trelawny to establish the kind of facility that could accommodate the Trelawny Yam Festival and trust that the stakeholders will consider Freemans Hall favorably to give that community a second chance to fulfill its potential.
I do agreed on several points. STEA taken away the southern Trelawny Yam festival from the south it does kills a large amount of oppertunity from the farmers and oppertunity for the youths and the unemployed.
secondly, they not have a representative body. Thirdly suggesting to have a meeting with the people of the cocpit country about the bauxite is a great idea but will they all joined together and participate or voice there opinion.Finally i am from south trelawny and i do agree Devon Mcdonald was like a lost sheep he was not fitting and still isn’t fitting for a representative for no human.
Let them smoke their herb! These young men are hard workers. I recently spent 15 days in the community of Rock Spring and did some volunteer work. Many of the young men just stopped to help with now pay and they smoked 10 to 15 spliffs during the work hours. With no negative effects on their work. Long live South Trewlany! Respect and honor mon!
i listen o the news almost ever chance i get and will often here of people going missing never knew it would happen to my brother, why not set up a group of officers and soilders, with search dogs to deal with missing persons? because after a report is made then thats it nobody really cares,