Kavorn Shue’s vigil

On June 22, 2012 a crowd of about 500 kept a vigil in memory of Kavorn Shue, who died from a police bullet in Kingston, Jamaica on the morning of June 2, 2012.

Wearing white T-shirts and carrying candles, the mourners comprising people from all sectors of Jamaican society, made its way slowly up the main road. Turning off into the Mountain View community, the procession stretched dramatically across several slopes, coming to a halt outside Kavorne’s home. Candles burning in the darkness, the crowd sang spirituals like Satan, gimme pass. A preacher called for calm and asked that no one seek revenge. There was no castigation of the police, only the dignified voices of mourners singing choruses and calling for divine attention to pain and loss.

Kavorne Shew, who was 25 years old, had played a role in activities leading to peace in Mountain View, where the murder rate was lowered from 40 in one year to 2 in more recent times. Similarly to the late Shaquille Grant in Guyana, who according to family members was waiting for his 18th birthday to apply to the army, and who had participated in a Citizen Security training programme, Kavorne had applied to join the police force and was to be baptized later that month. He had participated in a training initiative for inner city youth aimed at increasing their employability. The police explanation regurgitated a familiar script that nearly every Jamaican knows by heart: Police on patrol entered a community and encountered men acting suspiciously. Gunmen opened fire on them. The police were forced to return fire resulting in ‘x’ persons losing their lives.