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Music & More with Mel | Crime-fighter remembered in song

Published:Sunday | March 5, 2017 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke

Crime is rampant and, with INDECOM around, chances are the days of the 'name brand' policeman are over. Today The Sunday Gleaner remembers how one in particular, Anthony 'Tony' Hewitt, was enshrined in dancehall song,

In 2012, retired Senior Superintendent Anthony 'Tony' Hewitt was shot on Donmair Close, St Andrew, and died a few hours later. While the tributes which followed spoke about his information-gathering capabilities, toughness in the face of hardened criminals and the various high-level positions he held in police units, dancehall focused on one thing.

Hewitt's ability to 'run road'.

Deejay Johnny Ringo's Bad Boy A Fi Fit advised:

Bad bway oonu betta fit, oonu betta fit, oonu betta fit

Bad bway oonu betta fit, oonu haffi fit, oonu haffi fit

Fi run from Laing an' Tony Hewitt

Fi run from Trinity an' Tony Hewitt

Fi run from Bigga Ford an' Tony Hewitt

While it may be simply a matter of making the rhyme, it is significant that of the policemen mentioned, Hewitt is the only one who is mentioned thrice. The police cars that Ringo talks about help date the song:

Police nowadays dem nah guess nor spell

De car whe dem drive, sey dat a Opel

In another deejay song the performer, Red Dragon, encourages the listener to shoot off their mouths - literally - in showing their fearlessness (at least, in the heat of the dance). So all are asked to "buss blank" - point their fingers in the air and make the sound of a gun being fired - in time to the deejay's instruction. It is a familiar cast of police officers, Laing and Bigga Ford included, but Hewitt gets his line with 'buss a blank if yu no fraid a Tony Hewitt'.

Those songs came from Tony Hewitt's active days on the streets. By 2005, when he was 62 years old, the senior superintendent's exploits were the stuff of legend for the younger generation of deejays, many of whom would have only heard tall tales of Hewitt and other famed, fearless police officers.

So Baby Cham's Ghetto Story, produced by Dave Kelly on the 85 riddim, referenced Hewitt's exploits as a historical marker. The song speaks mainly in the first person about a young man's experiences growing up in a ghetto, including getting involved in community warfare. At the start of the second verse, it briefly expands into a commentary on the general Jamaican experience - which includes Hewitt:

I remember bout 80 Jamaica explode

When a Trinity an' Tony Hewitt dem a run road

Dat a long before Laing dem an' even Bigga Ford

When Adams dem a corporal nuh know the road code

Of all the policemen mentioned in the songs, in 2012 when Hewitt died, Ford was the only one who is still a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. And Hewitt was the only one to have passed on.