Sympathy in the Gully

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer writer

Friday, April 04, 2014    

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THEY may have carried Mavado's banner during his bitter feud with Vybz Kartel, but there was plenty of sympathy for their one-time rival in the 'Gully' region of St Andrew yesterday.

Kartel (real name Adidja Palmer) and three accomplices (Andre St John, Shawn 'Storm' Campbell, and Kahira Jones) were given life sentences for the August 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. Kartel will be eligible for parole after 35 years. Some of Mavado's supporters spoke to Splash about a man they once despised.

"Mi feel like the case fi try over 'cause it nuh look like him get a fair trial. It jus' look like dem pressure him," said 34-year-old Eric 'DJ Blacks' Brown. "Me's a Gully man but at the end of the day Vybz Kartel music dem have a energy, soun' good and everything."

Richard Phillips, a 30-year-old deejay known as Richest, agreed that the sentence is harsh but added that given the overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution, a lengthy incarceration was inevitable.

"As far as mi si, the sentence nuff an' ting, but when yuh check the situation wid the evidence, a the road wha' Adi (another of Kartel's nicknames) choose get him here. A jus' the system, wi haffi live wid it," he said.

A Rastafarian who identified himself as 'Jah Wayne' is an elder along the 'Gully', an undulating line of zinc and concrete homes. He believes Kartel is a victim of Jamaica's unbalanced justice system.

"A many killer outa road an' nuthin nuh happen to dem. Me's not a Kartel fan but nuff youth look up to him as Jamaica Michael Jackson," Jah Wayne stated. "If him neva have something inna him the university people dem wouldn't call him fi lecture up dey."

Friction between the Gully/Gaza camps was so tense that in December 2009, the deejays were summoned to a meeting with government ministers and senior police to broker a truce.

They agreed to a five-point plan that required the artistes to, among other things, participate in a peace treaty and concert; a 'paint-out' day to remove Gaza/Gully graffiti from walls in communities and schools across the island; and the creation of T-shirts bearing the images of both artistes.





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