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Stamp out Linstead extortion

Published:Saturday | April 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Motorists travel along a busy thoroughfare in Linstead. Extortion is reportedly wreaking havoc in the town.

Carry mi ackee go a Linstead market,

not a quattie worth sell.

Oh, Lawd, what a night, not bite, what a Sat'day night?

Everybody come feel up feel up, feel up,

weh dem mumma nuh bring.

Oh, Lawd, what a night, not bite,

what a Sat'day night."

Those were the days, born and raised in Linstead. I loved those days. Both parents were born nearby and raised all of us there in a very nice community. After migrating to the States for several years and working hard, I returned to Linstead. We opened a very nice business and I was again living my dream.

Over the years, we endured several trials, and things continued in a great way.

A new era

Then 10 years ago, my dad passed. That brought home three other siblings. After the funeral, two stayed, and we had fun being 'in the land of our birth'. We expanded our business, and mom was very happy. I soon got married and started a family and incorporated my new extended family; we were moving right along.

Then entered a new era, an era that showed a side of Jamaica that has taken hold of Linstead. This era is called extortion, extortion in my hometown. How can this happen to my Linstead? But, it has, in no uncertain terms. We could not believe that this was happening in our hometown.

We tried to see how we could stamp this out, but going to the police was to no avail. We had no place to go to, our MP was no help, saying no was death. During this time, my mother passed, and after being back in Jamaica for 10 years, I decided to shutter my business and sell my home and move back up north.

After landing, I cried and asked why I did not stay and fight. I cried for months, and now I have started the fight to shine a light on this piranha in our community.

How can we see this as mothers and fathers and not comment or try to stamp this out? Don't cry for me, as I am OK, but cry for the Jamaica that leaves you to care about nothing other than what someone else has. Jamaicans, we must start caring, and if we see something, say something.


Linstead, St Catherine