Impoverished people pushed together with only one way of obtaining the means to survive, provided by other people who cared less about providing food or shelter. People who’s only thought in life was how to get to elected office so they could more easily steal what they wanted. A once beautiful neighborhood turned on itself to feed off itself and ultimately lead to it’s own demise. Handed guns to rob and steal from the people around them who had nothing to begin with and as the old adage goes nothing from nothing leaves nothing. So set up to steal, all the guns brought was death.
PNP, JLP, WPJ all the same, nothing to differentiate one from the other, ideology different but the same, methods different yet the same. Hand the poor people a gun to get food and while they’re doing that to make sure their victim was terrorized enough to vote for the party that provided the gun with which they were being robbed. All this being perpetrated on every street, every corner every house and shack within an area that was less than ten square miles. With at least one gun for every ten people.
I had the privilege of being born into this turmoil. Of living in this hell on earth of growing up in this purgatory. Going to school everyday was an adventure. First you had to survive the nights where the afterglow of muzzle flashes battled the brilliance of the stars at night. By day you had to find a way out of the neighborhood to get to school. Then after school you had to find a way back in. Coming back on Molynes Road was easy the people there just hoped you went by without stopping or looking at their homes. You held your head down so you wouldn’t see their homes. So you wouldn’t wish you lived there and wouldn’t have to go any further. Wouldn’t wish that their life was your life. So you wouldn’t give into the despair wishing and praying for the things you couldn’t have no matter how hard you wished or prayed.
I grew up on the border between strong holds. In front across the street from me was the PNP stronghold of Balcome Drive behind me was Mc Kenly Crescent the small but very ferocious JLP stronghold. It had to be strong as it was only two street streets out of a hundred. A few score of people versus hundreds. As soon as you got to a certain age you were forced to choose an affiliation handed a gun and turned out on the streets to perpetuate the cycle. I had my first gun placed in my hand at twelve. I didn’t use it but it was put there. The people that put it there were scared of my mother which was the only thing that saved me from becoming another statistic.
Let me tell you a little story about the warrior known as my mother. The hellion that gave birth to me who these cowards were scared to face so they had to catch me on the sly. When I was about eighteen I drove her to a place called Coronation Market in downtown Kingston next to Tivoli Gardens the largest JLP stronghold. Where the hoodlums robbed market goers with impunity. One of them had temerity to try and steal from my mother. He learned the error of his ways with shocking speed and unbridled violence that she was no shrinking violet when within the span of micro seconds my mother pulled a pair of scissors from her pocket and stabbed him to within inches of his life. I could have died with joy at that moment as we made a speedy retreat while he beat an ignoble one, while a mob gathered to continue administering the beating he so richly deserved but they were afraid to give while he was still strong and sound but weakened as he was he was now unable to defend himself much less drive fear into anyone.
Anyway this is where I grew into a young man. Where the strong preyed on the weak where if you weren’t strong you might end up in a ring of tires being burnt alive. I hope I’m not making you physically ill recounting a few memories of my childhood things I’ve seen, nightmares that stalk my sleep. These are just a few of the tales I’ll be relating to you as I try to provide you with a small glimpse of my formative years. Where you had to take your life into your hands to get to school to get an education where you at least stood a chance to get out and live the life most people took for granted. Where just going to bed at night is an adventure and the best that could happen to you would be to pass quietly in your sleep.