Friday, November 22, 2002

Jamaica's Christmas pantomime, a cultural institution since 1941, has fled its traditional home at the Ward Theatre in downtown Kingston for the safer uptown precincts of the Little Theatre:

"Barbara Gloudon, a stalwart of the pantomime movement and writer of this year's show, Miss Annie, told Splash that the decision to move to the Little Theatre was taken earlier this week by the Ward's committee, following last Saturday's shooting incident downtown, reportedly between feuding gangs, that resulted in five persons being killed and 17 others injured."

And in her column in today's Observer Gloudon acknowledges what most Jamaicans know only too well: downtown Kingston is now almost alien territory, beyond the control of the civil authorities — a war zone battled over by the dons & their murderous gunmen:

"Downtown is divided up between major warlords who control the protection racket. According to reports, one group invaded the turf of another. Lessons had to be taught so the guns blazed to show who a rule.... Perhaps for the first time we can begin to understand what is behind the long-running serial of removal/re-location of the vendors on the sidewalks downtown. Clearly, neither the police, nor the KSAC, nor the Chamber of Commerce, nor the politicians, can do anything unless the downtown warlords are ready to have it done."

"A real country, with real problems"?

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