Maxfield Park residents fearful as war escalates
Except for the occasions when she has to open and close her shop door, Ms Brown*, who recently survived a daring gun attack at her home in Maxfield Park, Kingston, said she is not inclined to pass her verandah.
She knows all too well that at any given moment, there could be a repeat of last month's near-death experience when gunmen opened fire at several houses, including hers, while she was immersed in an online prayer session in her living room. Ms Brown said that the nightmare ordeal, which lasted for about a minute, has left her traumatised to the point where she fears her own shadow. She recalled that the drama was brought to her attention by her 17-year-old grandson, who was inside his room studying when one of the bullets flew by him.
"A six shots come inna my house wah day, but God is so good. Prayer meeting mi deh pon and mi only hear mi grandson bawl out 'mama!'" said the visibly shaken businesswoman. "God is so good to us because anything could a gwan that night. A long time things a gwan round here but this a di worst mi ever see it."
She began to fear the worst for her grandson, who was pinned under his bed and shouting for help.
"Mi grandson can inna him room a do him schoolwork and shot just start fire so?" she questioned. The berserk shooting was the latest in a string of violent episodes plaguing the often-volatile community. It is believed that a rift between rival gangs was one of the causes of the war, which has gathered momentum since 2022.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that more than a dozen persons have been killed or injured in the Kingston Western Police Division since the start of the year, including Keith Davis, a well-respected senior citizen, on January 1. Davis, 75, and others were shot after gunmen fired indiscriminately for reasons yet to be determined.
One of Davis' relatives told THE STAR that since his death, the family has been in deep mourning.
"Mi just a gwan tek it easy even though it hard. A nuff people get shot over the years round here, enuh, including one of me cousins. Him get shot up inna September last year and him just a come back good. Mi have other family weh get shot up too, and a go dem a go work and man shoot up taxi say dem did wah one bwoy inna di front seat," said the relative.
THE STAR made several attempts to contact Senior Superintendent Michael Phipps, who is commanding officer for the division, for a comment. But several calls to his cellular phone went unanswered. However, it was announced yesterday that a 48-hour curfew has been imposed in and around the St Andrew South and Kingston Western Police divisions. The curfew began at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, and will remain in effect until 6 p.m. on Thursday.
However, Ms Brown, who labelled herself a prayer warrior, said that while she believes that her God will continue to provide a shelter around her and her family, she was not taking any chances.
"Weh wi ago do? Wi a struggle and is not like wi wah fi be inna it, enuh. Wah night when dem say dem ago come bun down the place, mi no sleep from then because mi no wah get caught up inna no fire," she said. "Anytime dem tell themselves say dem wah do sumn, a it that. Worse yuh hardly see police or soldier a patrol round here. Yuh affi look out of yuh eye fi yuh self."