‘Get the St Thomas police off Poppi’s neck’

April 28, 2021
A section of the large crowd at the inagural staging of Unruly Fest in 2019.
A section of the large crowd at the inagural staging of Unruly Fest in 2019.

If I hadn't been there myself, I would have bought into the manufactured argument that Popcaan just "unruly now". What I saw instead was a young man in his community, on a dirt road, being summoned by the police for riding a dirt bike on a dirt track. A big sting operation to persecute an artiste whose enduring passion has been to develop his underdeveloped parish.

The Bath police did not take the time to positively impact the group of young men they met during their "operation persecute Popcaan" on Sunday.

No sign of community policing. In fact, it could have been anywhere in the USA where young black men are being searched without reasonable grounds, violated in their own communities by cops known to them. Maybe we need a 'Popcaan's Life Matters' campaign to get the St Thomas police off Poppi's neck. To add insult to injury, by nightfall, the police caused every detail of the traffic encounter with Popcaan to be published in THE STAR and The Gleaner, to further their persecute Popcaan campaign.

But why Popcaan? Popcaan could have relocated to Canada or Europe and continue to build on the mega music fame he has been generating. Popcaan could have invested his energies and money in a Kingston community or hide away in one of his mansions in upper St Andrew or elsewhere and pack away his money. But if you know Poppi, you know that 'A St Thomas him come from' and his greatest desire is to see his parish thrive.

So annually he sponsors back-to-school treats for students, he cleans and upgrades his community river to attract tourists, his Unruly Fest could have been staged at the National Stadium, earning much more, but instead he cuts roads and fixes trail routes in St Thomas at his own expense, to help build his parish. But, in turn, the police in the parish, hungry for fame, use every opportunity to kill his passion for his community, driving him and his investment further away from St Thomas.

This is not the experience in any other parish in Jamaica. The police in St Thomas appear to have a personal 'anti-Poppi' or even 'anti-dancehall' mandate.

If a man cannot find peace in his home, he may just have to find a new home, and so too will his investments.

Allana Davis


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