Modern Day Jamaica: Life After Dudus - Part One -
Written By: Danielle Small | Posted: Thursday, August 25th, 2011
In May 2010 a Jamaican drug lord named Dudus, who was wanted by the U.S., forged a stronghold in Jamaica in an attempt to resist arrest. His blockade in downtown Kingston, Jamaica resulted in a state of emergency. Seventy people were killed, and innocent Jamaicans, like my family, had to be barricaded within their homes to be safe from the gun battles outside their homes. The area Dudus used as headquarters for his drug business and his hideout from the police was located in an area in downtown Kingston called Tivoli Gardens. This happened to be the same place I had to be on assignment for an internship I secured while I was in Jamaica for the summer.
I knew I was in Tivoli Gardens before I saw the welcome sign. It looked like an area that had experienced war because it did. Residents congregated in street corners looked at my boss and I coasting past in her shiny SUV with immediate suspicion. Every lamppost, sidewalk and wall was spray painted green and JLP graffiti was everywhere. The Jamaican Labour Party (JLP) is one of two major political parties in Jamaica and the green spray paint represented their party color. In Jamaica, the political parties have so much clout (because of their connections with area drug lords) that their constituency area is marked with their party color to intimidate the opposition. In the car, I looked down and made sure I was wearing the right colors. My boss looked at her outfit too. "Never can be too safe," she said. "Yea," I replied. "Wearing the wrong color can get you shot." We chuckled but we both knew I was partly right.
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