Kingston Gardens house fire-bombed as gang war spreadsWednesday, July 28, 2021
Worried residents of Kingston Gardens in the capital city say the fire bombing of premises on East Avenue early yesterday morning was clear indication that a violent feud between the Genasyde and Darksyde gangs — which have been wreaking havoc in Kingston Central communities including Tel Aviv, Southside and Spoilers — has spread to their doorsteps.
Yesterday, when the Jamaica Observer visited the location at 4 East Avenue, the exhausted owner of the premises, Oscar Palmer, was attempting to discard scorched zinc and debris from the charred remains of his 12-bedroom house.
A smaller house at the back of the premises was not razed. None of the 11 occupants of the house at the front were physically injured; however, a few of them sought medical attention after experiencing respiratory problems due to smoke inhalation.
No weapons were discharged at the scene of the fire bombing, but the Observer was told that as the arsonists, all armed with guns, escaped on foot they encountered a police team with which they traded bullets.
A source told the Observer that the men were searching for a male relative of the residents.
Palmer recalled that he got out of bed before 3:00 am when he saw that his daughter's spouse had arrived home. He said that while the two of them were sipping rum mixed with peanut punch, approximately 20 armed men pounced on them, claiming to be members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force. He said very shortly after, they invaded the property, lit a mattress in one of the rooms, causing the house at the front of the yard to go up in flames.
“A Guardsman mi used to work. From 1990 mi get dis likkle place yah with a loan from the National Housing Trust and mi pay off the mortgage. Mi a 66 now and mi nuh know wah fi do because mi a pensioner now. Mi can't go build house again at my age. The house was a 12-bedroom house. From mi buy it, mi spend mi money pon it and add on,” Palmer told the Observer.
One resident, who requested anonymity, was livid that the gang war had spread to Kingston Gardens, interrupting the lives of close to a dozen people, including a four-year-old, a seven-year-old, a 16-year-old and two senior citizens. The resident called on the Jamaica Labour Party Member of Parliament (MP) for Kingston Central Donovan Williams to make himself more visible and to help all residents, not just a few.
He accused the MP of being silent as crime worsened in the constituency since the September 3, 2020 General Election.
Calls by the Observer to Williams' cellphone went unanswered yesterday.
“A pure madness! A di big war weh a gwaan dung suh wid di two side a dutty gangs a tek time a lead come up here. One a di girl weh live over deh draw nearly $100,000 and it bun up. Di only beauty about it is that one house inna di yard weh no fire never catch, but dem burn out di big house weh everybody live inna,” the resident said.
“I don't know why this dutty war from dung a Tel Aviv, Southside and Spoilers a reach up yah suh. Some persons had to go to doctor for respiratory issues but nobody got injured. Everything get messed up from the election last year and we nuh see the MP. Mi stress out,” the resident added.
People's National Party caretaker Imani Duncan-Price supported the resident's call for MP Williams to visit bereaved people in the constituency far more than he has been doing and to show that he is against crime and violence.
“Since September last year, I have become more and more concerned with the escalating war and violence across communities in Central Kingston. Every time I go to the site of a drive-by shooting or a murder, the people have been asking me where the MP is,” Duncan-Price said.
“They want to know if he isn't the MP for everybody and not just some people. I maintain that an MP is elected to represent all the people and his leadership has been missing for the last 10 to 11 months on this very critical issue. It is getting worse and it is not just in one area or community. It stretches from Tel Aviv to Southside, Spoilers, Franklyn Town and Rae Town proper. There have been a series of fire bombings and that is a problem. Does the MP want people to run away from the area?”
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