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I watched the documentary film – Snoop Dogg’s reincarnation from rapper to reggae in Jamaica, which was released in the UK this week. It was fantastic, gave me few laughs – like when they get the big bushes of ganja out and start smoking on some big ass chalice and Snoop’s cousin putting his blunt in the oven to cook it like a sausage. It’s fascinating when Snoop gets onto talking intimately about his time at Death Row and being at Tupac’s bedside a the time of his death. It’s sad when you understand his grief over the death of Nate Dogg. The music in it is excellent and you get a real insight into the whole process with Diplo at the helm. This documentary -maker Andy Capper, a 40 year old white guy from Liverpool is just amazing, hats off to him and his talent. Go watch it!
As seems the case all over the world, young people who have nothing to do and have very few or no opportunities to get jobs or realise their potential is not only terrible to witness right now but is also storing up problems for the future. A report in the Jamaica Observer made this all to clear. It’s about a 16 year old boy called Tajay Reid who was well known in his community as both bright and intelligent. His mum could not afford to keep him in school after 16 and he inevitably had nothing to do. It’s a familiar tale, he ended up involved in robbing a house and was brutally killed in the process. The headline for the piece is hugely apt. It is a tragedy. But why does it continue to happen?
With the economy in such dire circumstances, heavily indebted and with everything cripplingly expensive due to the high cost of imports, it might be time for Jamaica to consider some radical policy options. The only really lucrative farming going on at the moment seems to be growing ganja. If growing food and transporting it to markets were made profitable, this would not only provide employment but also reduce reliance on food imports. But it requires a change in demand and ethos and real committment in agriculture by a weak government. Here are some other ideas. You’re welcome to add your own.
the new Marley et al album …
Vybz Kartel is not recording any songs in prison in case you were wondering as there seems to be a few new songs circulating the airwaves.
This is the statement from his PR people.
Adidjahiem Records would like to make it clear, that Adidja ‘Vybz Kartel’ Palmer has not recorded any material since his arrest in 2011. Any songs containing material from Vybz Kartel that were released after his arrest, were recorded by the artist in previous years.
Various songs containing material from Vybz Kartel have surfaced since his arrest, including a collaboration with Busta Rhymes and a song titled “Back to Life,” which have sparked rumors that the artist has been recording at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre. Adidjahiem Records would like to make it explicitly clear that both songs were recorded prior to his arrest. The single “Wine and Go Down” by Busta Rhymes ft. Vybz Kartel was recorded at Donovan ‘Don Corleon’ Bennett’s studio in 2010 in a session that was broadcast live on ustream. The lyrics contained in “Back to Life” were also recorded in 2010.
“The lyrics from “Back to Life,” that was released by U.I.M. Records, were recorded by Adidjahiem Records during the Dudus extradition – the original title was “Me Waan Go Home,” says Elvis Redwood of So Unique Records, who was an in-house engineer for Adidjahiem Records at the time. “Those same lyrics were re-used on a different track to create “Back to Life.”
So Dudus was given a 23 year sentence. Predictably, residents of Tivoli Gardens remain loyal in their support of him with more than a little denial about the true nature of his crimes. This can be understood when faced with a situation where a don controls your area and provides many sweeteners to your poverty and problems and also in a situation where drug crimes are not only overlooked but practically condoned by some of the island’s leading poltiticans.
There’s supposed to be a lot of good to come out of this, the crime rate is being reported as down significantly and the murder numbers are down from a peak of 1600 deaths in 2009 , less extortion and much talk of cleaning up politics which could only begin after the resignation of the Prime Minister at the time, Bruce Golding.
Interesting to note how a foreign intervention has led to these changes but which jamaica itself can build upon – let’s hope there’s more improvements in the justice system and the police. But for now as Dudus contemplates his future with time to think on his life, maybe he should consider telling his story publicly, as those who protected him in the past, those involved in political corruption and who are still walking free , the country needs to know the full story about how he was able to operate a global drug and gun business with such immunity for so long, so that everyone really can move on.
The drug don of a Kingston ghetto, Tivoli Gardens – Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke faces a 23 year sentence today in New York – there is a very good explanation of background on AP here and also you can see my previous blog posts for background info here and also here.
Dudus will be doing well if he serves the 23 years as it’s thought the US authorities would not have entertained his guilty plea agreement (and thereby reducing a sentence of life in prison), without some help on trying to catch the drug generals and organisers further up the food chain. Dudus may be thinking of the fate of his associate and family friend, Vivian Blake who after serving out a sentence in the US, came back to Jamaica fearing for his life and died about a year after. Even if Dudus has not said anything, there will be a widespread belief that he has.
There seems to be little change when it comes to seeking out political corruption in Jamaica and the alleged links between drugs, crime, police and politicians, it seems a shame to me that there has been little good to come out of the needless deaths of 70 people, mostly residents in Tivoli gardens from May 2010, where many locals continue to support him.
Well, with Kartel in prison, it was never going to take long for someone to fill his shoes.
Jamaican police will be given batons, handcuffs, pepper sprays and equipment belts for approximately 6,500 frontline officers, later this year by the USA.
It’s a donation that has an underlying message – try and do something about police brutality in Jamaica. Between 2000 and 2010 there have been more than 2,220 fatal shootings by the police, that’s over 200 deaths a year on average. 2010 was particularly bad after the attack on Tivoli Gardens where 40 people are alleged to have been victims of extra judicial killings over the course of 2 days in May.
I was thinking on the bus, coming into work today how Jamaican music superstars, Vybz Kartel and Mavado have taken their different paths, just from their different outlooks on life.
This seems obvious to me if you listen to both of their latest songs ..
So with Kartel facing murder charges and things looking generally hopeless for him, he comes out with Ghetto Road
So he came from a place which was difficult and he’s faced a lot of hardship, if you re-read some of my previous posts, you will see that I am a real Kartel fan and have given him a lot of understanding, but he has let life really get to him.
Whereas, I think that Mavado is really rising above it all and OK, he comes from the same Kingston streets, but he’s using his new situation to enjoy life.
I actually rate Kartel for being more real in a way but when it comes to survival in this life, he maybe has something to learn from the Gully God.
Portia Simpson Miller of the Peoples National Party takes her oath of office today, so I thought I’d write a few thoughts about her. She became Jamaica’s first female PM, officially in 2006 when she took over from PJ Patterson but this is the first time she has been elected into the job through popular mandate. She beat the Jamaica Labour Party’s Andrew Holness, the result winning 42 out of 63 seats on Dec 29th.
It’s not surprising she won after the debacle of the one term Bruce Golding JLP government.
The PNP have traditionally been a party representing the poor, she promises trust in the government – something that is needed more than anything. She hasn’t convinced me yet to be honest as she seemed distinctly quiet over the whole Dudus-Golding affair and she has been accused of not being smart enough to lead the country – I don’t think that matters really – Reagan and Bush ran the US remember! Here’s a profile of her which was broadcast in 2007 CLICK HERE.
The point is, she really needs to clean up politics by cutting off the links with the criminals, maybe it’s good to move away from the rich elite of Jamaica and the JLP, let’s hope she works to lift Jamaicans out of their poverty.