Claude Massop

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Claude Massop (16 April 1949 - 4 February 1979) was the leader and strongman of the Phoenix Gang, later renamed the Shower Posse Gang, belonging to Tivoli Gardens, Wellington Street, Rema, Denham Town and the surrounding areas of West Kingston, Jamaica.

Early life[edit]

Massop, who was nicknamed Jack, was born in 1949[1] in West Kingston's Denham Town. He spent his early life in petty criminal activity mostly as a street hustler and pimp. He then moved into building contractor work (as the chief contractor). By the time he was 18 (1967) he was already the acknowledge leader of what would later become known as the infamous Shower Posse, a gang that had previously been headed by the notorious Lester Lloyd Coke[2] (Jim Brown).

Gangleader and gangland don[edit]

By 1967 Massop was a big influence in what would later become Tivoli Gardens, which was at that time nothing more than emerging housing projects for the urban poor. By 1967, Massop's main gang rivals were George "Feathermop" Spence, Winston "Burry Boy" Blake and Anthony (Tony) Welch from the nearby area of Arnett Gardens (Jungle).[3] They were known for their infamous violence and the methods they used to enforce their edicts. Blake and Spence led a motorcycle gang for nearly ten years (1967-76). They were political thugs and enforcers for the then housing minister Anthony Spaulding. The gang included at least thirty men at this time and terrorised victims in the Tivoli Gardens, Rema and surrounding areas. Massop had a string of arrests, which included several charges of murder and armed robbery, perjury and shooting with intent but no charges could produce convictions.[4] In January 1978, his chief claim to fame was the so-called "political truce" (Peace Treaty) between him, his close associate and chief lieutenant, Carl "Bya" Mitchell (JLP) and Aston Thomson ("Buckie Marshall" (PNP), infamously known for his prowess with a sawn-off shotgun). Before that time, a brutal bloody battle ensued between the two political factions, famously producing more than 800 deaths in the 1980 general elections between the two political parties (PNP and JLP).

Death[edit]

Massop met his death on 4 February 1979 by being shot dead by police (at least 40 times, according to newspaper reports[4]) along with two other men named Lloyd Frazer and Alphonso Trevor Tinson, following a police car chase after leaving a football match in Spanish Town involving the Tivoli Gardens Football Club.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obika Gray, Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power Of The Urban Poor, Mona: University of the West Indies, 2004.
  2. ^ The Yardies:BBC news documentary covering the Shower Posse and Lester Lloyd Coke (Jim Brown) and Tivoli Gardens Jamaica in the 1980s includes footage interview with 'Chubby Dread' 1994 http://www.viddler.com/explore/solomonic/videos/2/
  3. ^ "Burry Boy and Feathermop: The violent duo that helped and shamed the PNP", Jamaican Observer, 20 January 2008.
  4. ^ a b The Daily Gleaner, 6 February 1979.