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Four Days in May: Kingston 2010  cover image

Four Days in May: Kingston 2010 2018

Recommended with Reservations

Distributed by Third World Newsreel, 545 Eighth Avenue, Suite 550, New York, NY 10018; 212-947-9277
Produced by Deanne M. Bell, Deborah A. Thomas and Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn
Directed by Deborah A. Thomas, Deanne M. Bell, and Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn
Streaming, 41 mins

College - General Adult
Jamaica; Police Brutality; War on Drugs

Date Entered: 08/05/2020

Reviewed by Daniel L. Thacker, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State Altoona

Four Days in May: Kingston 2010, explores an incident known as the 2010 Kingston Unrest. This event is where Jamaican police and military forces captured Christopher “Dudus” Coke for extradition to the United States on gun and narcotic trafficking charges. This took place in the Tivoli Gardens district of West Kingston, Jamaica. Coke, the leader of the Shower Posse drug cartel, was seen as a benefactor and hero to a portion of the community in Kingston due to his social programs for the poor. He was defended from arrest but eventual taken into custody which led to at least 75 civilians being killed over a four-day period.

The political backdrop of 2010 Kingston Unrest is a deep division between the People’s National Party (PNP) and the Jamaican Labor Party (JLP) that has been going on for decades with Coke’s Shower Posse being known allies with the Jamaican Labor Party. This documentary mentions but does not focus on the political aspects behind the incident but captures the firsthand experiences of everyday civilians living in Tivoli Gardens during those four days. The majority of the film are firsthand testimonials from men, women and children who experienced the conflict.

Even though this documentary may seem narrow in scope, it can be an excellent jumping off point if used in the right context. It is directly concerned with the effects of the United States War on Drugs and the impact of police and military force on a civilian population. While indirectly touching on topics of colonialism and the Jamaican political struggle between the JLP vs PNP. A BBC documentary about Jamaica’s struggle for independence, Blood and Fire would be an excellent precursor to Four Days in May: Kingston 2010 to give the latter film scope and context.

Therefore, this film receives a rating of Recommended with Reservations because the audience will need to have some background knowledge on Jamaica’s history to appreciate the gravity of the documentary. Furthermore, audiences will need additional prepping to bring out the nuances from the film about the United States War on Drugs campaign and their political involvement with Jamaica over the years.