Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Trenchtown is located in Kingston. (Jamaica's largest city). The name came about because the neighborhood had a large open trench running through it. Living in Trenchtown in the late 60's and 70's was hard. Two major rival Jamaican political parties , The Peoples National Party and the Jamaica Labour Party, had emerged in Kingston and enforced code that ensured only their party’s supporters had access to jobs and services.
They sponsored "dons" to enforce their authority in the so-called "garrison communities" and shot any opponents with guns. Trench town was controlled by the PNP, which put it at war with neighboring Rema, a JLP stronghold. The road connecting the two became the front-line in an all-out war. After a while the "dons" outgrew their masters and turned to drug trafficking and extortion, and Trenchtown, like other parts of downtown Kingston, was carved up into warring gang territories.
I remember working at the record shop on Orange Street and how sometimes we had to lock up early due to the fighting. It was hard times in Jamaica. Certain things were scarce (flour, sugar, overseas products).
One of the best things ever to come out of Trenchtown was a young upstart named, Robert Nester Marley. He is known better as "BOB MARLEY." To Bob Trenchtown was home. This was where he got most of the feeling for his songs. Trenchtown was the heart and soul he put in his music. Trenchtown had so many musical artist (aside from Bob) that called it doors home.
Alton Ellis, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston, Rita Marley and the list goes on.