Thursday 13 December, 2018

Jamaican Gangs Of New York: A fiction based on a true experience

Desmond Skyers lived a troubled life in Jamaica, London and New York City, where he knew the streets and the streets knew him. This eventually led to him spending 23 in the prison system in the US.

Still not admitting to his wrongs, he was bitter at the system which incarcerated him until his Christian mother, elegantly dressed, visited him from Jamaica and reality confronted him that he had let her down. It was then that he made the decision to change his life around and now wanted to right the wrongs that he had done.

While still in prison, he enrolled in a correspondence course to read for a degree in journalism, but also started using his knowledge of the streets to pen his fiction, drawing similarities from his personal life to help to build the characters.

Last Thursday evening at the Spanish Court Hotel's Valencia Room, Skyers' book, Jamaican Gangs Of New York, was officially launched in Jamaica, with the author, who now resides in his birth city of London, present to give details of the enthralling and dangerous life he lived while being on the wrong side of the law.

According to Skyers, his fellow inmates were the first editors of the book as he would spend hours scribbling notes, oftentimes just taking a single paragraph from that, for the chapter he was on.

Upon completion, Skyers would give the chapter to some of the other prisoners, for them to decide if they wanted more. He knew he was on the right path if they asked.

It was a compelling story, which captivated the audience at the Spanish Court Hotel. Skyers answered questions about his reintroduction back into the normal world after prison as well as how he dealt with technology after leaving the penal system in 2016.

Skyers is hoping to woo the Jamaican readers with the novel, which tells of three Jamaican gangs that turned the streets of New York into a place for war.

This was until it caught the attention of the newly elected mayor, who established a gang task force, headed by a Vietnam war veteran.

Quizzed by a member of the audience if the book might not seem like he is glorifying his past life, Skyers said that the fact that most of the antagonists in the novel end up dead, nullifies that claim.

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