Visit to Tranquility Bay, Jamaica
Early this year (2003) I vacationed in
Jamaica. I had heard the stories and had spoken to some press that
were investigating the issues. My curiosity was somewhat peaked,
and since I was staying in Jamaica for about a week, I decided to
hire a driver and see, for myself, what this facility looks like.
My experience and the pictures I personally took of the facility are
available for the asking. For those interested in an abridged
version - - here it goes:
First and foremost, you must understand that
this place is in the middle of nowhere. It's a shock to travel
Jamaica's countryside to begin with, because driving in general is
so dangerous, away from the resorts (I happened to be staying in
Ocho Rios) and the poverty is omnipresent. The city (Treasure
Beach) is as remote as it gets, and when you arrive and ask where
Tranquility Bay is (or to it's local folk the "Olde Warf Hotel"),
you are outrightly lied to -- they say they don't know exactly where
it is. Once you arrive in town, past the Motorcycle merchant, look
for an old Jamaican (looks to be 300 or so) sitting on a rock, for
it is at that dirt road you have to turn and follow a path about a
half-mile long to the rather un-glorious "Tranquility Bay".
My first awareness that I was in the right
place, was that I saw 10 or 20 boys riding on the rim of an old
Pick-up Truck in front of us. They all looked unkempt and the ride
looked dangerous. They were allowed inside the gates (the children
and the dilapidated truck) and I had the driver stop so I could take
in this nightmare, that I had only previously read about or had seen
by way of very unclear pictures on the internet.
It's bad -- the first thing that catches your
eye is that all of the windows (99%) have been "boarded-up". It
hales from something out of a Hitchcock movie. The place has an
odor and it is not pleasant at all. The beach could never be
utilized because it looks as though the sewage is emptied on it
regularly. If that's not the case, then a blanket statement that
the beach is in horrible and unusable condition for whatever reason
is a completely fair assessment of the situation.
The place has guards; it's ominously quiet (it
was while I was there). Even if you did manage to escape, I don't
know where any of its "guests" would run to. The trip just to the
main road (if you could call it that) would wind even the most fit
athlete, and the townspeople are rumored to get rewards for turning
run-a-ways in. Remember that many Jamaicans work for the facility
and even if the reward does not exist, they have a stake in making
sure the "guests" stay imprisoned.
Obviously, I could not go inside, but I snapped
many pictures and they clearly illustrate, that the place is a
broken-down second-rate motel from the past, and should have been
leveled many years ago, and that any beauty that the structure or
the beach on which it sits may have once possessed is gone. It's a
frightening site (and this is just from the outside). Notably,
there is garbage in large cages outside the structure and I did have
the feeling that something or someone, other than it's intended
contents, may be placed in there from time-to-time.
Interestingly, I was not approached, although I
was taking pictures like crazy (and my presence was somewhat
Another important fact, for people to keep in
mind, is that this "hell-hole" is hours from both Kingston and
Montego Bay Airports -- it's a drive you will never forget and it
runs upwards of $300 round-trip.
Truly, all of this is moot, because the
Headmaster (and I use this reference loosely) has no credentials at
all which justify his position of management over this facility.
The parents are bad parents -- plain and simple -- for taking part
in this plan. An inquiry about this program by any parent, by
itself, should result in a parent being jailed with no due process
for the rest of their life.
Eventually, the United States Government will
have to deal with this mess -- hopefully by invading Utah again --
it is time for that (government intervention) -- they have short
memories from the last time (The Invasion of Utah.) Utah's
inhabitance (and others) need desperately to come to terms with the
fact that troubled children are a part of normal life and that
having them kidnapped by paid morons (mostly because the parents are
too cowardly to do this themselves)and then surreptitiously
smuggling their child/children off to a foreign country to be
tortured indefinitely is contrary to the mores and values of a
Do not send your kids to this place! It's
awful to look at, the manager is unqualified and all your doing is
stuffing the bulging coffers of the nuts and religious fanatics that
run these torture chambers.
Richard R. Titsch, III