Probing Portland | Pain in paradise! - Mother of murdered 20-year-old no longer enjoying life in 'Peaceful Portland'
With only five murders so far there this year, Portland, with a population of approximately 83,000, remains well below the national average of some 60 murders per 100,000 inhabitants.
But the numbers are no comfort for the mother of one of the five murder victims in the eastern Jamaica parish.
Portland, the little piece of paradise with its lush hillsides and scenic coastline, is a postcard for what's right in Jamaica, but for Loureen Grant, mother of 20-year-old murder victim Kerone Dixon, it is like a coffin that teems with sorrow and depressing memories.
Dixon, a former student of the Port Antonio High School, was chased, beaten, and stabbed to death about 6 p.m. on March 1 during a dispute, allegedly, with a group of students from the school.
He was the second person to be killed in the parish this year, and several Portlanders last week told The Sunday Gleaner that they would do everything to protect the parish from the scourge of homicides affecting Jamaica.
But Grant is struggling to enjoy the relative peace in the parish she has called home all her life as she carries the pain of knowing that the second of her three sons was chased, beaten, and stabbed in the throat and chest as onlookers recorded every blow on their cellular phones.
"Them do him real bad. Them do my child real bad. The whole of him face mash up, and them stab him right here and right here," said a slow-speaking Grant, touching critical areas under her throat and on her chest as she reluctantly shared the story.
"They never went there to fight him. They came there to kill him. Them never give him any chance to survive," added Grant.
She told our news team that despite tough economic conditions, she lived with her sons lovingly in a tenement yard in David Lane, Port Antonio, in the parish.
Since the incident, that house has been transformed into a cocoon of misery from which Grant said she had no choice but to flee.
She has since been living with a cousin in nearby Drapers.
Her other sons, ages 14 and 21, have also moved from David Lane and are living with other relatives.
According to Grant, her teenage son has become excessively aggressive, while the older brother, who suffers with speech complications, has reclined further into his world of silence.
"I can't deal with the memories. There are too many memories, and if I am there, I am still going to be looking for him to come home. So I can't stay there.
"I just need somewhere else to move to. I need help with a house. I just want to lock away and don't have to talk to anybody," mourned the mother, still angry that onlookers watched instead of tried to help her son.
"Nobody never know that Portland would have any murder - people killing anybody - killing a teenager because he was just 20, my pickney," she lamented.
"Could you ever dream that would ever happen in Portland? Nobody wouldn't think so," added Grant.
Grant said that while she would prefer to move from Portland, the parish is where her relatives own land, and so she has little choice but to remain there.
"I just want to be alone, away from everybody, and I want to know that the other two (boys) have somewhere to live," she said as she added that since the killing of Kerone, she has been in fear for the safety of her other boys.
Police said Dixon was involved in a dispute with students, allegedly over $500. Two days before his death, he was in a fight with the students.
Last week, Detective Inspector Linton Bailey of the Port Antonio Police told The Sunday Gleaner that four students had been arrested and charged with Dixon's killing.
"What is disappointing in that incident is the citizens watched instead of intervening in that incident. If the citizens had intervened, maybe he would not have been killed. Persons were more into videoing what was going on than assisting," said Bailey.