Green Bay massacre
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|Green Bay Massacre|
|Location||Green Bay firing range, Port Henderson, Jamaica|
The Green Bay Massacre was a covert operation carried out by special forces of the Jamaican Government on 5 January 1978, in which 5 Jamaica Labour Party supporters were shot dead. The operation entailed the luring of the men into an ambush at the Green Bay Firing Range by members of the Military Intelligence Unit which was and still is a covert operational wing of the Jamaica Defence Force.
The victims all hailed from the Higholborn Street and Gold Street areas of the JLP stronghold Southside community in downtown Kingston. They were identified as being too closely linked to the opposition Jamaica Labour Party and were singled out as being prime targets for neutralization by members of the leading Peoples National Party (then headed by the now deceased Michael Manley). The Military Intelligence Unit (M.I.U) of the Jamaican army which now headed by Col.Desmond Edwards was required by government members to take "all reasonable steps" to ensure removal either overtly or covertly of anyone who was deemed to be a threat to the island's security and to the smooth running of the PNP government.
The operation was executed by undercover agents of the Military Intelligence Unit going into the Southside Community and infiltrating the Southsides' "POW Posse" which was a local gang operating in the area led by the now deceased Franklyn Allen aka "Chubby Dread". There were fourteen men in this gang who were originally targeted for neutralization. The men were promised guns and jobs in the military if they co-operated with the Government. The men, needing the arms and funding, agreed; and in the early hours of 5 January 1978 an army ambulance driven by an MIU operative picked them up at the intersection of Higholborn Street and Port Royal Street, then headed west towards Port Henderson, Saint Catherine where the Green Bay artillery range is located. On arrival at the Military Base, the men were led out to a section of the range where they were given strict instructions not to move as they would be picked up by other persons who would take care of their work requirements and supply them with arms. As soon as the MIU operatives drove off, a specially selected team of snipers from the JDF, led by Major Ian Robinson was lying in ambush in the nearby hills. The soldiers were armed with L8 General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG), L2A2 Self Loading Rifles and Sterling Sub-Machine Guns. On the receipt of a pre-arranged signal from one of the MIU operatives which was the firing of a single shot from his Browning 9mm pistol, the sniper team opened fire on the group of men from their nest in the hills. Five men fell dead under the hail of gunfire and the remainder fled into nearby bushes. At least one entered the bay and was rescued by a passing fishing boat.
The official report released by the Military was that the men were shot dead after they were surprised by soldiers doing target practice on the JDF firing range. This report did not stick as the people of Southside demonstrated to protest against the killings. An official enquiry and Coroners' Inquest was later held in the Spanish Town Coroner's Court where a jury found that the sniper team felt threatened by the men when they opened fire so no one was held criminally responsible for these deaths. The Jamaica Labour Party refused the verdict but did nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice when they were elected on 30 October 1980. The Michael Manley led PNP has always disavowed knowledge of the covert action that took the lives of the men and said it was purely a military operation that was later justified. The incident is considered one of the worst acts of brutality in Jamaican History and is still condemned by members of the Jamaican populace to this day. Several changes have now been made in the operational and administrative functions of the JDF to prevent similar incidents. As a direct result of this act of state brutality, over 1,400 persons were murdered in Jamaica between 1978-1980 when the Michael Manley led PNP was defeated by the opposition JLP led by Edward Seaga who ruled until 1989 when he lost the General elections. Southside is still a volitaile area with frequent outbreaks of political violence and turf war since the occurrence of this incident.
Gunst, Laurie. (1995). Born Fi' Dead: A Journey Through The Jamaican Posse Underworld. New York:Henry Holt and Company, LLC. ISBN 0-8050-4698-4