Suspension of Rights, Security Operations and Dons: Opting Out of State Citizenship?
This chapter examines Tivoli Gardens, the most emblematic garrison in Jamaica, where the state has historically maintained a collaborative relationship with criminal dons who provide their own form of de facto citizenship to residents who often face hostile encounters with the security forces. A number of themes related to the way in which the community has acted as a site of citizenship, simultaneously rivalling and acting in concert with the state, is examined. The use of emergency powers, lack of state legitimacy coupled with the absence of any guarantee of security through the state and strong political identities are critical for understanding the trajectories of security and violence in Tivoli Gardens and the relationship between the community and the state. The May 2010 security ‘operation’ (according to the state) or ‘incursion’ (according to research participants living in Tivoli) and the narratives of people about their rights and relationship with the state, which this chapter explores, provide a useful snapshot of the community in transition. Such a transition necessarily involves moving away from the ‘one order’ governance of the don to a re(assertion) of state power and an attempt at weakening the gangs. While most residents in Tivoli Gardens regard the localized, one order system as the best means of governing and guaranteeing security and respect for rights, it is viewed by the state and sections of Jamaican society as a threat to national security.