Jamaica: Carrying on, but Counting the Cost

Jamaica is doing its level best to carry on in the face of the disorder that the signing of an extradition order for suspected drug and arms trafficker Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke has caused in the island nation's capital.

One of the most heartening signs that the country is determined to get back to normal is the Calabash International Literary Festival, which has proceeded as scheduled this weekend. @anniepaul tweeted updates from Treasure Beach:

Wonderful. Calabash is like a huge lung purifying the putrid air we inhaled in Kingston RT @mrseven65: @anniepaul how has it been so far?

As the festival drew to a close, it was evident that despite the success of the event, the situation in West Kingston was still top of mind:

@anniepaul: Wi no know how we and dem a go work it out. Someone will have to pay for all the innocent blood. UPRISING. #Calabash closing…

Downtown Kingston quiet. By bbcworldservice, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Meanwhile, the capital appears to be calmer. Twitter carried regular updates:

@onthegroundjm Quiet on Red Hills Road from Wednesday. Traffic heavy like a normal Saturday, especially around Price Mart

@lauraredpath: Quiet Sunday morning in West Kingston #Tivoli #Jamaica

@anniepaul: Hallelujah, the Wild West is calm for now RT @lauraredpath: Quiet Sunday morning in West Kingston #Tivoli #Jamaica

@lauraredpath: Young men play football across from the National Arena. #normal Kingston despite #Tivoli clashes http://twitpic.com/1sh0fn

Spent the morning in Hannah Town. I find the community more peaceful than my own mind, plagued by all I need to do #Tivoli #Jamaica

@j007li Jamaica on a whole was fine, it was just Kingston (along w/Spanish Town) and that has calmed considerably.

That calm has come at a cost. Several wanted men have turned themselves in, but only after a great deal of bloodshed and loss of life. As if the existing casualties weren't bad enough, there were tweets being circulated that the Prime Minister deserved as awful a fate; several Tweeple were quick to come to his defense:

@ChrysalisCEO: I'm seeing more irresponsible tweets; suggestions that the Prime Minister deserves to be killed?! UNACCEPTABLE!

@ArnoldKer: @ChrysalisCEO We no longer respect the fundamental right to life? No wonder Jamaica's at the place we're at. That's sad.

Authorities believe that ‘Dudus’ is still in Jamaica – albeit with a new “look” – but while detainees are being held and processed at the National Arena, the man at the center of the imbroglio still has not been found. The blogosphere still seems torn, however, over the performance of the country's security forces:

@ChrysalisCEO: I'm heartbroken. I just looked at some of the photos of the bodies of Jamaicans, discarded like garbage. Follow @yardlife to see them.

@ArnoldKer: Those men prepared for a war, attacked the security forces and they responded. Let's not forget that.

Army on the streets of Kingston. By bbcworldservice, used under a Creative Commons Licence.

Recent tweets suggest that the security forces are once again conducting operations in Red Hills:

@roleli: Security Forces seem to believe that the wanted man &/ his cronies are in the Sterling Castle, Kirkland heights area of Red Hills

apparently men have now been detained in a Red Hills community and it seems the men are from the recently ‘conquered’ community

@jamaicaobserver: 9 picked up in East Kirkland Heights http://tinyurl.com/2fu4a5m

More weapons and ammunition are also being found. In addition to the “36 guns found to date along with 9241 rounds of ammo”, @onthegroundjm just tweeted:

Confirmed: A house in Denham Town was searched and an AK-47 rifle was found along with 7 rounds of ammunition. The… http://bit.ly/diqSun

The rest of the region is watching closely. @anniepaul retweeted this commentary by Sir Ronald Sanders:

Jamaica’s business is CARICOM’s business. Neither CARICOM governments nor the people of CARICOM can sit back and pretend that events in Jamaica in which criminals defy the authority of the State are not relevant to them.

And, when this particular confrontation is over, Jamaica must start the gruelling process of openly and transparently dismantling all party political connections with gangs…Jamaica will be economically stronger, socially better and politically more stable than it has been for decades and, as a consequence, CARICOM will benefit.

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