Rioting in Jamaica.
July 10, 2001 12:45 AM   Subscribe

Rioting in Jamaica. This one hits very close to home, as it's where my family is from and where I partially grew up. While the immediate effect of people dying is terrible, the long term effects of this news on tourism (Jamaica's top industry) will probably be devastating to an already poor country.
posted by owillis (7 comments total)
Here's the local view.

My mom is there, but she's far enough away from this for it not to be a problem so far.

For those of you keeping score at home, the PNP is the People's National Party - pretty socialist and currently the party in power. The JLP (Jamaica Labor Party) is their more capitalist opposition.

An interesting thing about Jamaica is that the middle class is teeny-tiny (especially compared to us here in America), you're either rich or poor - which may be a contributor to the whole problem.

Can I just say this sucks huge?
posted by owillis at 12:51 AM on July 10, 2001

Rioting anyplace is nasty shit. At least this is politically motivated and not racially - there's the possibility that some good may come from it. Progress might get made in giving the poverty stricken a better deal with people power and all that stuff, even if that is a wholly optimistic comment to make. By the looks of things the public do seem to be guided to violence by politicians like puppets on a string, which is bad, but in a country which has such economic inequality it's only to be expected. Must be bad for you seeing the place you come from in turmoil. Good point about damage to tourism factor, Jamaica already isn't seen as being the safest place to visit.
posted by Kino at 1:47 AM on July 10, 2001

I feel your pain Owillis...I've had family caught in riots up in Northern Ireland.

Hope your Mom will be okay. It sounds like the rich and poor issue would be a cause. And while this may sound pretty bad (although it's not meant to), it could be ethnic conflict which is a whole lot more unpleasant, as Kino said.

This will die down after a bit - sounds like some criminal elements trying to stir up trouble.
posted by tomcosgrave at 2:26 AM on July 10, 2001

Given time the crackdown may have a positive affect. If the government can regain control of the streets and end the lawlessness then I would think that would help tourism farther down the road.
I hope your mom stays safe owillis.
posted by a3matrix at 4:46 AM on July 10, 2001

what are the riots about? Is this about who rules, pollution?(which seems staggering for Jamaica) Is this about expanding industries or is the Bauxite running low. How much control do the drug crowd have over the govt.
The death toll is very high, seems something is afoot. Glad your mom is o.k.
posted by clavdivs at 9:52 AM on July 10, 2001

I think it's more along the lines of this:

1. The police have been cracking down on criminals, hard (shoot first, ask later type action). Amnesty International slammed them for doing this, but the cops tend to have the support of the people as crime has increased in its viciousness and intensity within the last 10 years or so in Jamaica (coinciding with weakness in the economy).

2. The opposition party (JLP) seems to be accusing the PNP of using the police to assault JLP loyalists under the pretense of law/order.

3. I don't know exactly how much influence the drug folks have over the government, but the system is rife with corruption - again, in economic hardship the buck is king

4. Right now the violence is contained to Kingston, the capital which is notorious for its crime. In the rest of Jamaica, Kingston carries the same stigma as a violent part of a big city would here (South Central LA for instance). Many Jamaicans won't go there it's so bad.

Latest: Tony Blair and his wife are going to Jamaica at the end of the month, and the Prime Minister is asking other countries for assistance.
posted by owillis at 10:32 AM on July 10, 2001

I bet QE2 wont have anything to say. Thanks for the info. My dad spent 2 months there in the mid to late 50's. he found Jamaica...a paradise. (it still is, despite the violence)

"shots are fired-stay alive-YEAH" (no disrespect as i find Bob one of the greatest ever)
posted by clavdivs at 10:46 AM on July 10, 2001

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