Trench Town: The Forgotten Land

2007, Crime  -  52 min Leave a Comment
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More than 2 million people visit Jamaica every year. Tourism is Jamaica's largest source of foreign revenue. But there's a side of Jamaica that most foreigners never see. All over Jamaica people live in severe poverty but nowhere is this more apparent than in Trench Town, Kingston 12, which is very close to the city center. The four story apartment blocks sit in parallel with the neighborhood full of boarded up shacks, fenced and roofed with rust colored zinc.

You could be excused for thinking those houses are abandoned, but in fact they house many more than their design intended. Today about 25,000 people live in Trench Town and it is a district that has been deliberately abandoned by its government. Gun crime and shootouts between rival gangs and police are very frequent. Trench Town was immortalized in the music of its most famous resident, Bob Marley. Thanks to Bob Marley people from all over the globe have heard of Trench Town but few foreigners have ever been there.

Due to its particular history, Trench Town is divided into different "zones" each with its own leader. It's the warfare between these hostile areas that has turned Trench Town into one of the most dangerous places in the World. There are gun battles every day and every night. So how do common people manage to live in such a destructive climate? The Police are losing their jurisdiction on the streets, they are constantly involved in shootouts, and there are many innocent victims caught in this fire exchange.

Trench Town hasn't always been the brutal place it is today. It was originally built in 1945 as a Government housing project and there has been very little investment since then. It's hard for the older residents who remember how beautiful the town used to be. Today much of Trench Town is breaking down. It's hard to keep your dignity when you live in such difficulty, but the people who live there have great pride in their community.

Directed by: James Ewart