Many people know about Trench Town from the reggae songs of the legendary Bob Marley. Yet, few have had the opportunity to spend any time in this community. In reality, most who live there wish they did not. Trench Town is an area rife with crime and violence. This is a place where the police have little effective control. The documentary takes viewers into this impoverished neighborhood to learn how the children survive, if they can.
As shown in the film, children have a difficult time in Trench Town. If malnutrition and disease does not get them, they still have to battle the gangs. Some youth become the victim of gang violence; others become gang members who then must keep an eye out for the police and rivals. All of this is a precarious lifestyle that seems to be the fate of too many.
Throughout the film, children claim to want to break the cycle of violence and criminality. There are a few things, such as school activities, that provide them a positive outlet for their creativity. Nevertheless, gangs are a way of life in Trench Town. Many wind up joining a gang for protection. In such a violent environment, people see it as safer to be in a gang than on their own.
Residents in the film say they live in a state of constant fear. They must take certain routes to and from the area. The danger of making a wrong turn is ever present. There is little hope for police protection. Instead, the gangs control their turf and anyone who lives there. With these groups holding so much power in a country of so many powerless, it is small wonder that impressionable young minds find the gangs attractive.
This film leaves viewers with a better understanding of how kids in Third World countries find it hard to turn their backs on a life of crime. Trench Town is not the Jamaica seen in tourist brochures.
Jamaica: Trench Town
- Enhanced DVD
- ISBN: 978-1-61753-157-6
- Run Time: 54 Minutes
- Copyright Date: 2009