Four days of hell!! Police deny tale of horror
Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter
"YOU HAVE five seconds fi tell mi wah mi waah know," Clive claimed he was told by two policemen while they held guns to his head at his home in Tivoli Gardens last Monday.
The cops, along with soldiers, were searching for Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, the area don many residents had declared that they were willing to die for.
Coke is wanted in the United States on gun and weapon-smuggling charges and Clive, like many other residents in west Kingston, did not want to see him arrested.
"We know he is innocent and we decided to show our support for him, not by fighting, but by our presence," Clive told The Sunday Gleaner.
But the security forces were determined to arrest Coke, and last Monday, they broke through roadblocks, many of which were reinforced with gasolene cylinders and explosive devices. Within hours, scores of people were dead in west Kingston, as the joint security forces fought their way into the community. More than 700 persons were detained.
Clive was one of those detained, but he says were it not for the power of God, he would have been numbered among the dead.
"They came into my house where I was on the floor with my baby mother and young daughter and they asked me for ammunition and guns. Mi tell dem me nuh have none, and den they took my family out of the room and then told me, 'you a go dead today'."
Previously stone-faced while telling the story, the memory of that horrific afternoon and the memory of his daughter, whom he said he loved dearly, now moved him to tears.
"Dem put two guns to mi head, and mi tell dem mi a working man, and dem say dem a go kill mi," Clive said. He told The Sunday Gleaner that with the guns to his head, he summoned the assistance of his maker, God the creator.
"I am not a Christian, but I fear God. I did not want to die because I have my daughter to live for," Clive said.
All this time while he was alone in his bedroom with the policemen, his common-law wife and child were in the living room hoping he would not be taken out in a body bag.
"When di police give me mi last five seconds, mi tell him mi nuh have nuttin fi tell him except dat a fada God in charge," Clive said.
According to Clive, what happened next was nothing short of a miracle.
"One a dem squeeze the trigger and mi hear it click several times, but nuttin nuh come out. One a dem ask mi how mi science (obeah) so strong, and mi tell him is not science, it's the power of the Lord," added Clive.
Tears flowed as he related how he was dragged from his bedroom and slapped across the face by one of the policeman in full view of his daughter and baby mother.
"My daughter screamed," Clive said as his voice cracked and tears rolled slowly down his cheeks.
He told The Sunday Gleaner that he was then taken out of the house by the police who used him to lift mattresses and household appliances in every premises on the block as they conducted a house-to-house search.
Clive alleged that on reaching the fourth floor of the building, he was told to jump and he refused. It was at that point, he said, that he was taken by a policeman of superior rank to the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre where persons were being detained.
Detention, too, he said was hell. He points to scars on his face, hands and feet which, he said, were inflicted by the boots of soldiers. He said he was hit several times on the head by soldiers with their helmets. He also said detainees were made to crawl on gravel by the soldiers, who, he said, often reminded them they were lucky to be alive as the members of the security forces had received instructions to "kill anything that moves".
Food in detention, according to Clive, was "nasty", and the holding areas were like "hog sty". He said inmates had to pass their waste in plastic bottles and store it close to them, and they were not given water to wash their hands, which was a recipe for sickness.
But this has been denied by Deputy Commissioner of Police Charles Scarlett who said that additional potable tiolets were taken in to deal with the number of detainees.
Scarlett also said that civil groups were granted access to the detainees and were satisfied with how they were treated.
"Mi nuh know wah mi do fi deserve what mi get. Mi a nuh criminal. Mi go jail one time fi exposing goods for sale but mi a nuh criminal, and a dis mi get just because mi nuh run lef mi community," Clive exclaimed.
As he struggles to come to grips with what has happened, Clive says there is no way he will re-enter Tivoli Gardens, with the military and police still there. "Not after that brutal bath. I want to see my daughter grow up, but I fear that if I go back, they are going to kill me."