Pictures: Gas Riots '99 - Jamaica, West Indies

















All photographs courtesy of Michael Fisher.
Copyright (C) 1999, Michael Fisher. All rights reserved.

When you are finished, take a look at more positive pictures of Jamaica, at Images of Jamaica TM

Barbican Road,
Gully near Lane Plaza, Matilda's Corner. The site of Colin's story. The road was blocked in three places between Sovereign and the gully, with a huge fire on the bridge.



Barbican Road,
Eastern entrance of Jacks Hill gas station. Nothing could stop the "party" of a demonstration happening at Jacks Hill Texaco.


 

Jacks Hill Road,
Southern entrance of Barbican road from Jacks Hill, with the now famous meeting point of the gas station on the right.


 

Hope Road,
Looking East North East, up Hope Road, towards Kings House, where the UWI and UTech students demonstrated.


 

Hagley Park Road,
Hagley Park Road, heading down towards Spanish Town Road. These scenes are indicative of the state of the entire road.


 

Hagley Park Road,
Approaching the intersection, with Waltham Park Road.


 

Waltham Park Road,
At the intersection, with Hagley Park Road, it is impassable.


 

Hagley Park Road,
Heading down to three miles, with road blockers have been busy as well. These photo's merely represent less than a tenth of the roadblocks we saw along the way..


 

Hagley Park Road,
Children playing in the road, wanting their picture taken, as they play on the now empty streets.


 

Hagley Park Road,
Approaching the Three Miles Roundabout. The police, along with PWD vehicles, and heavy construction equipment, are clearing the roads.


 

Cockburn Road,
This long road on the right, just before Three Miles presented a lone reminder of the unrest the day before.


 

Spanish Town Road,
Where there is smoke, there is fire. Sure enough, like the tensions around the city, this smoldering pile flared up as we watched.


 

Spanish Town Road,
This road was many time blocked on one side or the other still. We were forced many times to drive on the wrong side of the dual carriage way, to make our way towards Nelson Mandela Highway.


 

Spanish Town Road,
This bus no longer has a mileage problem. It's owner won't be worrying about gas prices for a while. The financial, physical and geographical extent of the damage is unbelievable.


 

Spanish Town Road,
Strange place for a chair? When next will you be able to have a seat on Spanish Town Road at 4:00pm on a work week? Hopefully no time soon!


 

Geddes Refrigeration, Spanish Town Road,
Tanks from Geddes Refrigeration were used to block the road. I wonder if there is anything in those tanks?.


 

Unimotors, Spanish Town Road,
The pattern of the tanks on the road was quite interesting. Throughout all of the mayhem, the Jamaica flag still flies high, and proud! Praises!


 

Spanish Town Road,
Not all demonstrations were destructive, and not all Jamaican were demonstrators. Here we have a friendly residents cricket and football game - on Spanish Town Road! Hmmm, where's the boundary Lara?


 

Riverton City Dump, Spanish Town Road,
This picture does not begin to tell you the extent of this fire - about sixty feet long, and all four lanes wide! Amazing! Luckily for this ambulance, the roads were clear.


 

Nelson Mandela Highway,
The juxtaposition of the sign with the "break" in the road, and the "breaks" we had seen in the system all afternoon, was too good to pass up. Yes Ronald McDonald, we had more than our fair share of breaks today!


 

Lloyds Hardware, Red Hills Road,
The rage that motivated the mob to turn over this parked flat bed, and then torch the establishment must have been a sight to behold. Thank goodness they were gone when we got there. This was no demonstration, but rioting, looting and plain civil disobedience.


 

Red Hills Road,
Not content at torching the building, overturning the truck, but all the windows in all nearby building were broken; and not just the ground level ones either.


 

Red Hills Road,
Once the centre of pomp and fashion in Kingston, the Red Hills strip, with turntable, was reduced to rubble. There were HUGE fires in the street every 100 feet (30m). The asphalt was still hot enough to be splashed up onto the car as we drove through.


 

Shortwood Road,
Not just vehicles, but BROKEN vehicles were used to block this road! These vehicles were broken straight through the chassis and each piece used individually to block sections of the road..


 

Grants Pen Road,
This road was still totally blocked from the Barbican side. The history of the area, along with the fateful killing of the pregnant woman here, made this an intimidating stop.


 

Grants Pen Road,
There was a tense calm, as people watched us go up the road, interrupting their cricket game to get in, and then aagin to get back out. The side roads were completely blocked as well.


 

Grants Pen Road,
A view you will see nowhere else - the blocked Grants Pen Road, from the Grants Pen Road side! Local "support" was neccessary to get these photos without incident.


 

Shortwood Road,
A Gas Riot "Toll Bridge" was alerting it's collectors to the presence of the Police. A camera and a "Press! Press!" was enough toll to let us through. Martinis wasn't the only building torched on his road though.


 

Shortwood Road,
There seemed nothing short about this road today. This Audi 500 will never feel the purring of it's engine; engine and all had been torched.


 

Club Martini, Shortwood Road,
Once a favourite spot for pool sharks, and go-go girls, Martini's is no more. From the road, you had a clear view of the sky, straight through the building..


 

Alcadia Pharmacy, Shortwood Road,
A favourite scene from the television, the extent of the damage was not made clear there. The inside of the pharmacy is a total wreck, there will be "No Reading" from THAT magazine rack. There was extensive damage to the entire plaza, with even a Doctor's office being looted and destroyed!.


 

Shortwood Road,
The chicane by Allerdyce was blocked. Again the contrast of the pristine sign, along side the debris in the road was startling.


 

Acadia Drive ,
Our largest difficulty of the day - our toll collectors were adamant on being paid - Press or not! Some lovely women parked behind us distracted them enough for us to make a relaxed pass through their block.


 

Barbican Road,
The peace and calm, an almost eerie calm was torn through by the lengths people went to create pandemonium. The indomitable Jamaican spirit walks through, and moves on.


 

Knustford Boulevard ,
Police stationed outside of Finsac while the unrest continues. Perhaps there was a plot to distract them enough to destroy the building? The looting continues as we sacredly protect our white elephant.


 

New Kingston ,
No pictorial would be complete without the mandatory pictures of the incessant helicoptors overhead. HOW much million US$ again?


Half Way Tree,
Our attempts to bring you the Womans march to Half way tree were fruitless. Let's leave at there were thousands of people there, and no easy vantage point to bring home the size of the crowd.

 

We made it home safely. I hope that these pictures appease your curiousity in some small way, as taking them did mine.

Peace
Mike

 

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Last updated April 22, 1999