Sunday, May 23, 2010
Another week in Jamaica. On Monday we finally got completely unpacked and went into Kingston to get the cleaning and grocery supplies we needed to set up our apartment. We were about half way through shopping (it takes at least 2 different stores) after getting haircuts at the mall, when we go a call from the Assistant's to the Mission President that advised us that in Kingston they had asked all the missionaries to go home and stay there as there was an governmental incident in Kingston that had caused all of the government offices and several other business to close early. The incident surrounds the signing of an extradition order for a drug lord to be sent to the US for his crimes. He has massive support in West Kingston and there was concern for the safety of US citizens. We advised that we were in Kingston and since it is 1 1/2 hrs drive from Mandeville we went to our last store (PriceSmart) and completed our shopping. We do not like to travel after dark but in this case we left Kingston at 8 pm and by then the traffic had dissapated and we came home without incident. We did listen on the radio to the Prime Ministers speech regarding the status of the incident. The government has asked the attorneys for Christopher Coke to bring him to a police station and turn himself in. However, that has not happened and it is now Sunday evening May 23rd at 8:50 pm as I am writing this. The Prime Minister addressed the nation at 8 pm and has declared a "State of Emergency" for one month. What that means is that citizens have no rights against the security forces. You can be stopped, detained, searched at will by the security forces. It will be an interesting week politically. We have scheduled a meeting with Brother Brown our direct report in Kingston on Thursday and the main road traveled to the Mission office is through West Kingston. Fortunately the primary trouble spot is South of the main road a few miles. Enough of that but I just wanted to share how fortunate we are at home for individual rights.