Trench Town: Violent Crime In Bob Marley’s Home Town

In Bob Marleys infamous Trench Town, we meet the kids who risk their
lives every day to get to school. The constant turf wars, battle for
control by the local dons and the fact that police are out-gunned, make
this a real life tragedy of Hollywood proportions. Through the children’s
outlooks, aspirations and fears, we enter an otherwise no-go area.

Every morning as I rise, I hear the gunshots firing says Leroy. 

His school is
on the borderline between the two warring factions of Trench Town

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just fire shots indiscriminately, these guys are killing for fun he
tells us as we follow his walk to school. 

Brightly coloured shacks that
look ready to collapse house over 25 000, army tanks and car bombs
litter the dusty streets and Bob Marleys face smiles out from a
billboard, pock-marked with bullet holes.

Were living in a war zone says Sergeant Robert Taylor yet we don’t have the tools to
overpower the gangs. It is well known that politicians armed the local
dons in the 60s in return for votes- the two main political parties, the
JLP and the PNP, have been at loggerheads ever since. 

Politicians had
an interest in having people fight each other for scarce benefits
explains Blakka, who left Trench town when his house was burnt down- there’s no jobs, there’s no money, Ill kill to maintain that access to the
little there is.

Having grown up in this turmoil, the youths are
now the ones with the guns in their hands. The age range for the most
dangerous gangs is 14-25 explains Sergeant Taylor, these kids have grown
up with no hopes and nothing to live for. Many had to leave school
because of the shootings and were drawn into the only other means of
survival. Those kids searching for food, searching for someone to take
an interest in them are the ones who end up pointing a gun at you says
Delroy, a teacher.

Yet there’s hope amidst this almost impossible
educational environment. I want to study law says one student I want to
publish my novel says another, I want to be a flight attendant says
Shanice as she wipes away her tears. 

A powerful glimpse into the reality
of life in Trench Town, through the eyes of the children who are
gearing to change it all.

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