Wed | Jan 16, 2019

George Davis | Keith Clarke's family must fight to the death

Published:Tuesday | April 17, 2018 | 12:00 AM
The bullet-riddled house and vehicle at the Kirkland Heights home of Keith Clarke.
Nigel Clarke (left), now the finance minister, and Claude Clarke, former trade minister, lead other pall-bearers out of Webster Memorial United Church in June 2010 at the end of the funeral for Keith Clarke.

I retain a copy of the report showing Keith Clarke's body sketched on paper and the angle at which multiple bullets entered and exited his body. I remember writing details of that report into an exclusive story for Nationwide Radio and how the sadness at the killing of an innocent man, which had, to an extent, been numbed by the passage of two years, came flooding back into the newsroom after everyone had read the copy.

The question hanging heavy in the air on that day in 2012 was how an innocent man could be shot down like a rabies-infested dog, inside his own bedroom, by the same agents of the State you expect to turn to for protection against the kind of people who would want to shoot you down innocently inside your own bedroom.

I will never forget the Green Bay killing. I will never forget how Agana Barrett died. The Braeton Seven. How Michael Gayle died. How Neville Lewis murdered Vic Higgs. I will never forget how young the majority of those who died in the Tivoli incursion of 2010 were. And I will never forget that Keith Clarke, an upstanding Jamaican citizen, died like a mongrel at the hands of the security forces.




The country was in such a mode in late May 2010 that Keith Clarke's killing was not met with the outrage that would usually attend such an outcome. I remember vividly a public official calling me at home to give me "facts" about the killing, just in case I might think that the late accountant was an innocent man. He said that I should look closely at Keith Clarke's picture, alongside any picture I could find of Dudus, and he was sure that I would see a resemblance!

He chided me for being slow to that point, telling me that Clarke was indeed Dudus' biological father and that he was responsible for keeping the books related to the Tivoli strongman's millions. He said that relationship, alongside intelligence that Dudus was holed up at his 'father's' residence, led the security forces to Clarke's Kirkland Heights home. He was most irate when there was no reference to that narrative in my on-air discussions about the matter.

The sad thing was that this source didn't believe he was peddling lies. He honestly thought that the narrative of Dudus and Keith Clarke being son and father was, indeed, fact.

The question to the Clarke family is indeed how long they plan to fight for justice in light of the immunity protection order shielding the three Jamaica Defence Force soldiers charged with his death. Murder is a tough thing to digest. It's a slow process. But the family has time.

If they need inspiration for this trek, they must look no further than a fellow Jamaican, Doreen Lawrence. April 22 will mark 25 years since the murder of Baroness Lawrence's firstborn son, Stephen Lawrence, then 18, by a group of white youth at a bus stop in South East London.

It took a long time for Baroness Lawrence to get justice for her boy. Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of Stephen's killing 19 years after the act. And Britain's National Crime Agency has just announced the start of an investigation to probe why four former detectives took more than two weeks to start making arrests into Stephen's murder despite being given the names of several suspects in the days immediately after the crime.

The Clarke family must get justice. They must pursue it with the commitment and energy that Baroness Lawrence did. At the same time, we must not forget that those three soldiers charged with his killing were under orders and given clear instructions about how to engage when they got to the Clarke residence in Kirkland Heights on the night of May 27, 2010.


- George Davis is a broadcast executive producer and talk-show host. Email feedback to and