Sat | Nov 17, 2018

Christine Green guns for success

Published:Sunday | August 26, 2018 | 12:00 AMKrysta Anderson
Devon Campbell (left) looks on keenly as Christine Green assists Stedman Gray with training.
Christine Green has a heart to heart with her Sagicor banker, Babett Largie.
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From the label of disability to experiencing the torture of armed robbery, this entrepreneur has had to tackle trauma head-on.

Instead of cowering in fear, she displayed bravery in the face of adversity, redefining her unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances to achieve success.

Today, we share the unforgettable and incredible life-changing story of the first and only female gun range owner and operator in Jamaica, Christine Green.

Green is no stranger to business. In fact, it was mandatory for her, her four brothers and three sisters to work at her father's distribution and trucking company on weekends and after school.

"This is where I learned hard work without pay and enjoyed every moment of it."

Growing up from humble beginnings, Green attended St Mary's Academy, Unity Primary and Manning's School before migrating to the United States to pursue collegiate studies.

While working in the US, she met in a car accident which rendered her disabled by the country's standard. Affected but far from deterred, she returned to her homeland to prove them very wrong, learning how to drive trucks and wreckers for a living. Little did she know that assault would be added to her injury.

"Five gunmen broke into my house and tied me up. I was robbed and beaten," Green explained to Outlook. Thankful for surviving this physically, mentally and emotionally scarring ordeal, she didn't walk away without the lesson learnt. With her life threatened, privacy violated and safety compromised, she went into full self-defence mode, acquiring a gun to undergo intensive training.

"This morphed into me joining with two friends, and together our triangle trained prospective and licensed firearm holders," she added.

As a trainer, Green teaches safe usage and handling, alongside legal implications of owning the weapon. Women visiting the gun range, she charged, will understand the harsh reality they can face and should be prepared for, because they incorporate real-life scenarios as part of the training.

But there was a challenge. Green was training without a range of her own. Blessed to have been accommodated by the Woodleigh Shooting Range in May Pen, this meant that she had to travel from Savanna-la-Mar to May Pen daily, just to train her students. But then a fellow Rotarian informed her that there was a range already established in Negril that was not being utilised to its maximum potential.

The Negril Club, which was already registered and in existence, accepted Green with open arms as a partner.

"I eventually took over the range, and in 2014 renamed it Negril Tactical Shooting Range."

The services currently offered by Negril Tactical Shooting Range include training of prospective firearm holders, training for competitive shooting, and bird shooting and hunting.

"I offer safe usage classes, and we do maintenance of weapons."

The reception she has received so far from all her colleagues, friends and firearm holders, she says, has been excellent.

"The alliance, the camaraderie and the support from the other range operators, firearm dealers and certified trainers have been fabulous!" And as the only female range operator in Jamaica, she feels very special and, according to her, she is treated likewise, "My colleagues and I get along quite well and they literally guide and protect me."

Like any other business, however, the journey has not been easy.

"I obtained what was originally a range, but with the mandates from the Firearm Licensing Authority, I had to expand extensively. Had it not been for Sagicor Bank, it would not have become a reality. The struggles are real, but by adhering to the guidelines of the Firearm Licensing Authority and the laws of the land as it pertains to the operation of a gun range, I can safely say I am surviving."

Other obstacles comprised of need for extra funding, particularly because new mandates and policies usually require more infrastructure. Green confessed that as a woman in this business, she is not taken as seriously as her male counterparts, but she is grateful to Sagicor Bank for always coming through for her.

"It is very important to have good support from your financial institution because you can plan with confidence, knowing your bank can stand behind you."

With hopes of educating the general firearm holders population in the safe and legal usage of the firearm, to protect themselves and family and for sporting purposes, Green would love to help to combat the crime situation in Jamaica. Already, she has begun giving back to the community.

"The team Negril Tactical Shooting Range, alongside Easi Spic, has bought an electrocardiogram (ECG) machine for the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. For every match held on our grounds, the funds have gone to various different charities, to include the Happy Hearts Early Childhood Institution, The Clifton Boys' Home, the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station, Negril Police Station, Sheffield Primary School, and the Rotary Club of Savanna-la-Mar."

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com