It was a Wednesday evening. Jay had left work and stopped at Rib Cage on Constant Spring Road, picking up a half baby back ribs & fries and was heading home when the call came in. Gunmen had cut the fence by the Gulf perimeter and were moving the cases of empty glass bottles stored there. This was the second time this week, and the fourth for the month, and always as the sun was just going down.
Jay turned around and powered the car, a 2.4 litre brown Datsun Crown and headed back to work. Fifteen minutes later he pulled in from the road. He was glad the barrier was open, as the car hit the entrance bump and leapt into the air, landing on all four wheels under the barrier, instead of crashing through it. Jay drove around to his office and ran in for a couple of spare clips, and drove quietly to the Gulf with the lights off.
In those days, they used radios for communications. Jay called the Security Control Room and asked someone to bring him a radio. After a few minutes, he heard a whistle behind him, it was Big Man with the radio. Big Man gave him the radio and Jay started asking some questions. When he got no answer, Jay looked behind him, but Big Man had disappeared, back to the Control Room to watch on the cameras.
Jay walked quietly amongst the cases and containers, listening intently for any sounds. There were containers parked next to the west wall and he crept up carefully, all the while listening and looking. In the distance, Jay saw men on the other side of the fence, packing cases they had removed from the site. There was a lookout standing on the corner with an AK47 in his hand.
The Control Room called Jay and told him to come back. Jay smiled and told them to call the Police, but the Police were already on their way. Big Man said they were getting help from the army with a helicopter.
Jay waited, quietly, firearm in hand. He carried a Walther P99. The men were still the other side of the fence, moving about slowly, packing cases. Jay knew he could do nothing but wait patiently. He could not fire at the men as they were not a danger to him or anyone else. The firearm law in Jamaica was strict.
Jay moved nearer to the west wall and nearer to the gulf corner, taking shelter now by a wheel of a container, speaking softly to the Control Room, asking for the location of the gunmen. They were still beyond the fence. but Jay didn’t want one of them climbing the wall and seeing him.
And then in the distance the sound, blades cutting the night air, the helicopter was near. And then the sky and ground lit up. Night Sun was here.
The gunmen first stood frozen as the light glared onto them, and then shots firing from the ground as the entire Gulf Corner became day. It was as if the midday sun had appeared in seconds.
Jay watched as the intruders started running in all directions, leaving the cases of empties on the ground where they had stacked them. The blue lights of Police cars could be seen along the old train line by the mangrove, trying to cut off their escape, while Night Sun circled.
Shots, more shots, then only the light and the “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” of the helicopter blades.
Two Police cars came down the road to where Jay was standing and officers came out heavily armed. They all moved to the fence line and into the open land.
And then it was over, Night Sun moving over the bushland and mangrove, trying to find the men, the sound of the Police sirens and the lights of the blue flashing beacons along the old train line. No more shots.
Jay walked back to the Crown, ready to eat his spare ribs & fries. They were all over the floor. He was hungry.
When Jay got back to the Control Room the Superintendent from Hunts Bay was reviewing the camera data. Jay told her this had become a twice weekly event, and they talked about what they could do to stop these men. She said she would send a combined Police and Army team on site in the evenings. For two nights, the team hid amongst the cases of empties and containers. No sign of the gunmen.
On the third night, the gunmen came back, Jay watching them on the cameras, seven men, all armed. Some cut the fence while one man used a handmade wooden ladder and starting scaling the wall.
Jay moved down to the gulf. The man with the ladder was now standing on top of the wall, straddling the razor wire, an AK47 in his hand. A Police Officer took aim, called out and while the man was raising the AK, the officer fired and the man fell inwards, hanging in place upside down, one leg tangled in the razor wire, the AK falling in the dirt and sand.
As he was struggling to free himself a soldier walked up to the hanging man, pulling him roughly off the razor wire, the soldier jumping in the air with his helmet in his hand, bringing it down on the gunman’s wounded shoulder. The man screamed. Blood flowed from his shoulder. The soldier shouted at the Police Officer, telling him he was too hasty, he should have waited until all the gunmen were inside so they could have dealt with them properly. Jay knew what that meant.
Shots were firing and Jay saw another man in the open land go down and then get up again and start running, staggering to get away. Shouts of “Don’t move” and the occasional shot broke the night’s stillness. And then it was quiet.
Three days later Jay was told that one gunmen who got away later died in a country hospital from his wounds, and the the razor wire man lived and gave up his colleagues.