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TRUCE! - Gangsters agree to end their bloody feud in west Kingston

Published:Sunday | September 20, 2015 | 9:00 AMCorey Robinson
Angella Smith weeps as she holds a picture of her murdered daughter, 15-year-old Jazianne Cole.

The guns remain in the hands of the criminals, but today, the children of Denham Town and adjoining communities can play in the streets without the fear that bullets fired by warring gangsters could claim their lives, and residents are hoping that this will last.

Weary of gang rivalries, which have claimed more than 20 lives since the start of this year, residents are praying that a truce agreed to by factions in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town last Sunday will hold.

West Kingston sources say the ceasefire was initiated by Leighton 'Livity' Coke, businessman and brother of former Tivoli Gardens strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Livity reportedly visited sections of Denham Town, meeting with gangsters in those areas last week.

According to the source, Livity was incensed by the shootings, reportedly being influenced by individuals overseas and in which teenagers - some as young as 14 - are the main players.

The latest gang war had its roots in many issues - from a break-in of a business place operated by a family member of a top gangster, to dominance of turf, to the control of a lucrative extortion racket that operates in the nearby market district, and even bad blood from persons disciplined under the Dudus regime.

BUILT-UP ANGER

"You find that some of the man dem do dem wrongs and get dem mash up and a live with that from long time. Some man might all go thief (rob) the market people dem and dem man get mash over it and never like that," said one west Kingston resident.

"So you find that some man a carry feeling from dem long time there. Some of dem go foreign and they are influencing certain happenings in the area," added the resident.

But whatever the source of the dispute, residents hope the days where men aligned to gangs such as Scheme, Scare Dem and Chestnut Lane in Denham Town, and sections of Tivoli Gardens, including Lizard Town, will no longer fire at each other, leaving families mourning the loss of innocent victims, including children.

Fifteen-year-old Jazianne Cole, affection-ately called 'Angel' of Tulip Lane in Denham Town, was among those shot and killed in recent months.

Last Friday, Jazianne's older sister, Natalie Cole, told our news team that the family is still awaiting the findings of a post-mortem, which is now scheduled for Wednesday. While she welcomes the truce, it does little to assuage her pain of losing her sister.

"That doesn't have anything to do with us, really. Yes, the peace is good, but it doesn't bring back my sister. All we feeling is pure pain, and it has been a month now and my sister is still on ice. We need to get her off. That is our number one priority right now," said Cole.

Jazianne's mother, 53-year-old Angella Smith, was not convinced about the truce.

"How you supposed to have peace and people still a get rob and rape in the area? Up to two nights ago dem rob someone around the road. Any time them say is peace is pieces. Man still getting shot, still a dead," she said, still grieving the loss of her child.

corey.robinson@gleanerjm.com