As thousands of heavily armed Jamaican policemen fight through barricades and die-hard residents in the island's most impoverished community; a drug lord sought by their Prime Minister and the US remains at large. To date, nearly 80 people have died in the bloodshed.
The drug lord being pursued is Christopher "Dudus" Coke, known as Mr. Coke. Before he became public enemy number one, he had many friends across the island's political landscape and even in the United States. This child of the rough Jamaican streets oversees a drug empire that accounts for nearly 40% of the crack cocaine market in the US. Much of it's US power infrastructure stems from the Bronx.
Last year the US Justice Department requested his extradiction to America. However, the Jamaican government was reluctant citing that much of the evidence was obtained through illegal wiretaps.
Bowing to US pressure, Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding signed off on the request and launched his pursuit of Coke. However, the residents in Coke's suburb had a different idea. They view him as a modern day Robin Hood, who provides public services that the Jamaican government has failed to do. Vowing to defend him with their lives, the bloody conflict has claimed many of the residents.
As a child of Jamaican parents I am closely watching the events on this troubled island. Many local friends are eager to see the unrest come to a peaceful end. Our families left that island in search of greater opportunities in the US. Yet our wish remains that Jamaica will find its footing among the community of nations by becoming a stable partner in the West. Prior to this current crisis, it appeared to be making real progress.
Today, the hopes and dreams for our island homeland seem bleaker than ever.