The decades-old extortion racket in and around the Spanish Town bus park in St Catherine that has claimed countless lives, has taken on a new twist that is likely to have deadly consequences for women.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, with many of the men who previously collected money for the Clansman gang either being killed or imprisoned, with some fleeing the area, and with an increasing police presence in and around the bus park, women are being recruited to do the job.
“Is so it go, straight,” a source who requested anonymity. He asserted that recent attacks on women, including shootings, were directly related to them being used as pawns in the deadly game.
“The man dem a wise up and a tek wey dem self, so the leader dem can’t get nobody fi collect the money ... so dem a draw in the woman dem,” the source added. He explained that women draw less attention from the police.
He revealed that in order to plug the gap, women and teenage boys are being used. As for the teenagers, they are also reportedly being used to commit murders while dressed in school uniform making it easy for them not to attract the attention of the police.
“When you see them you don’t know if them is ‘schoolers’ or gunman,” our source said.
And, a policeman attached to the Spanish Town police station stated that “a lot of youngsters who should be in school are being recruited by gang members. They are eager to please the dons so they don’t hesitate to kill.” The teenagers are also used as spotters to identify their rivals before calling in those tasked with carrying out the killings as soon as the police leave the area.
The teenagers pose another problem for the police as they are said to be regular ‘bleachers’. “This minute the police dem a look fi a black youth so him just tek wey himself go cool out fi a while. When him come back him brown cause him go bleach,” our source explained.
The Clansman gang is among the two main gangs based in Spanish Town - the other being the One Order gang. Together, they have been able to establish the elaborate racket that has turned the St Catherine capital into a haven for thugs who prey on informal sellers and formal businesses, extorting hard earned cash that the gangs then use to finance their criminal networks.
Businesses in and around the town are not spared either but operators are too afraid to cooperate with the police.
According to some operators, policemen are involved in the extortion racket.
“Is nuff time di policeman dem go check the big man dem fi a money. Dem know wey di man dem live and dem know wey dem get dem money but dem nuh care cause dem corrupt. How yuh must carry information go give to police when is so dem operate?” our source said rhetorically.