Claude Massop

Last updated

Claude Massop (16 April 1949 - 4 February 1979) was the leader and strongman of the Phoenix Gang, later renamed the Shower Posse Gang, belonging to Tivoli Gardens, Wellington Street, Rema, Denham Town and the surrounding areas of West Kingston, Jamaica.

The Shower Posse is a Jamaican gang which is involved with drug and arms smuggling. Its home is in Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica, but it primarily operates in the Canadian provinces of Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and the US states of New York, New Jersey, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

A gang is a group of associates, friends or members of a family with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over territory in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Some criminal gang members are "jumped in", or they have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence. A member of a gang may be called a gangster, a gang banger, or, less specifically, a thug.

Tivoli Gardens, Kingston in Kingston, Jamaica

Tivoli Gardens is a neighbourhood in Kingston, Jamaica. Developed in a renewal project between 1963 and 1965, the neighborhood continued to suffer from poverty. By the late twentieth century, it had become a center of drug trafficking activity and social unrest. Repeated confrontations took place between law enforcement and gunmen in the neighborhood in 1997, 2001, 2005, 2008, and 2010.


Early life

Massop, who was nicknamed Jack, was born in 1949 [1] in West Kingston's Denham Town. He spent his early life in petty criminal activity mostly as a street hustler and pimp. He then moved into building contractor work (as the chief contractor). By the time he was 18 (1967) he was already the acknowledge leader of what would later become known as the infamous Shower Posse, a gang that was later headed by the notorious Lester Lloyd Coke [2] (Jim Brown).

Denham Town Residential neighbourhood in Kingston, St Andrew, Jamaica

Denham Town is a predominantly residential neighbourhood in western Kingston, Jamaica. It has a reputation as one of Kingston's more violent areas.

Gangleader and gangland don

By 1967 Massop was a big influence in what would later become Tivoli Gardens, which was at that time nothing more than emerging housing projects for the urban poor. By 1967, Massop's main gang rivals were George "Feathermop" Spence, Winston "Burry Boy" Blake and Anthony (Tony) Welch from the nearby area of Arnett Gardens (Jungle). [3] They were known for their infamous violence and the methods they used to enforce their edicts. Blake and Spence led a motorcycle gang for nearly ten years (1967-76). They were political thugs and enforcers for the then housing minister Anthony Spaulding. The gang included at least thirty men at this time and terrorised victims in the Tivoli Gardens, Rema and surrounding areas. Massop had a string of arrests, which included several charges of murder and armed robbery, perjury and shooting with intent but no charges could produce convictions. [4] In January 1978, his chief claim to fame was the so-called "political truce" (Peace Treaty) between him, his close associate and chief lieutenant, Carl "Bya" Mitchell (JLP) and Aston Thomson ("Buckie Marshall" (PNP), infamously known for his prowess with a sawn-off shotgun). Before that time, a brutal bloody battle ensued between the two political factions, famously producing more than 800 deaths in the 1980 general elections between the two political parties (PNP and JLP).

Peoples National Party Jamaican political party

The People's National Party (PNP) is a social-democratic political party in Jamaica, founded in 1938 by activist Osmond Theodore Fairclough. It holds 30 of the 63 seats in the House of Representatives, as well as a majority of local government bodies, with 151 of the 228 divisions. The party is democratic socialist by constitution.


Massop met his death on 4 February 1979 by being shot dead by police (at least 40 times, according to newspaper reports [4] ) along with two other men named Lloyd Frazer and Alphonso Trevor Tinson, following a police car chase after leaving a football match in Spanish Town involving the Tivoli Gardens Football Club.

Spanish Town Town in St Catherine, Jamaica

Spanish Town is the capital and the largest town in the parish of St. Catherine in the historic county of Middlesex, Jamaica. It was the Spanish and British capital of Jamaica from 1534 until 1872. The town is home to numerous memorials, the national archives, and one of the oldest Anglican churches outside England.

Tivoli Gardens F.C. association football club

Tivoli Gardens Football Club is a Jamaican football club, based in Kingston.

Related Research Articles

History of Jamaica Wikimedia history article

The Caribbean island of Jamaica was inhabited by the Arawak tribes prior to the arrival of Columbus in 1494. Early inhabitants of Jamaica named the land "Xaymaca", meaning "Land of wood and water". The Spanish enslaved the Arawaks, who were so ravaged by their conflict with the Europeans and by foreign diseases that nearly the entire native population was extinct by 1600. The Spanish also transported hundreds of West African slaves to the island.

The Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is one of the two major political parties in Jamaica, the other being the People's National Party (PNP). While its name might suggest that it is a social democratic party, the JLP is actually a conservative party. However, it has longstanding ties to the Jamaican labour movement.

Edward Seaga Prime Minister of Jamaica

Edward Philip George Seaga is a former Jamaican politician. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Jamaica, from 1980 to 1989, and the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party from 1974 to 2005. He served as leader of the opposition from 1974 to 1980, and again from 1989 until January 2005.

Yardie is a term often used, particularly within the Caribbean expatriate and Jamaican diaspora community, to refer to persons of Jamaican origin, though its exact meaning changes depending on context. The term is derived from the Jamaican patois for home or "yard". The term may have specifically originated from the crowded government yards of two-storey concrete homes found in Kingston and inhabited by poorer Jamaican residents.

Trenchtown Residential neighbourhood in Kingston, St Andrew, Jamaica

Trench Town is a neighborhood located in the parish of St. Andrew which shares municipality with Kingston, the capital and largest city of Jamaica. In the 1960s Trench Town was known as the Hollywood of Jamaica. Today Trench Town is the location of the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, a National Heritage Site presenting the unique history and contribution of Trench Town to Jamaica.

Bruce Golding Jamaican politician; Prime Minister of Jamaica

Orette Bruce Golding is a former Jamaican politician who served as eighth Prime Minister of Jamaica from 11 September 2007 to 23 October 2011. He is a member of the Jamaica Labour Party which he led from 2005 to his resignation in 2011.

Green Bay massacre

The Green Bay Massacre was a covert operation on 5 January 1978, in which five Jamaica Labour Party supporters were shot dead after being lured into an ambush at the Green Bay Firing Range by members of the Jamaica Defence Force.

The One Love Concert was a large concert held on 22 April 1978 at The National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jamaican posses, often referred to simply as posses, are a loose coalition of gangs, based predominantly in Kingston, London, New York City and Toronto, first being involved in drugs and arms trafficking in the early 1980s. It has been claimed that the Jamaican posses are affiliated with Jamaican political parties, such as the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and the People's National Party (PNP).

Ranking Dread was a Jamaican reggae deejay who grew up in the Kingston ghettos of Rema and Tivoli. He became famous for his work with the Ray Symbolic sound system in the 1970s. His later years in the UK and North America were dogged by legal issues.

Vivian Blake was a Jamaican drug kingpin who founded and operated the American operations of the Jamaican Shower Posse.

Christopher Coke Jamaican drug lord

Christopher Michael Coke, also known as Dudus, is a Jamaican drug lord and the leader of the Shower Posse, a violent drug gang started by his father Lester Coke in Jamaica, which exported "large quantities" of marijuana and cocaine into the United States.

The 2010 Kingston unrest, dubbed locally as the Tivoli Incursion, was an armed conflict between the Shower Posse drug cartel and Jamaica's military and police forces in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica. The conflict began on the 23 May 2010 as security forces began searching for major drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke, after the United States requested his extradition, and the leader of the criminal gang that attacked several police stations. The violence, which largely took place over 24–25 May, killed at least 73 civilians and wounded at least 35 others. Four soldiers/police were also killed and more than 500 arrests were made, as Jamaican police and soldiers fought gunmen in the Tivoli Gardens district of Kingston.

Sharon Hay-Webster is a Jamaican politician. She was a member of the House of Representatives of the Parliament of Jamaica from 1997 to 2012, representing the People's National Party. She came to international attention after the 2004 Haitian coup d'état, when she escorted Jean-Bertrand Aristide from his temporary exile in the Central African Republic to Jamaica at the invitation of then-Prime Minister of Jamaica P. J. Patterson.

<i>A Brief History of Seven Killings</i> novel by Marlon James

A Brief History of Seven Killings is the third novel by Jamaican author Marlon James. It was published in 2014 by Riverhead Books. The novel spans several decades and explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1976 and its aftermath, through the crack wars in New York City in the 1980s and a changed Jamaica in the 1990s.

Michael Manley, son of former Prime Minister Norman Manley, was elected Prime Minister of Jamaica in 1972. To address growing inequality in Jamaican society, Manley embarked on several democratic socialist reforms of the state, including land ownership reform, free education from primary to university, and nationalization of certain industries. Such policies had massive popularity among many people in Jamaica, but there were others who either saw the reforms as contrary to their businesses or as a high precursor to a Cuban-style communist government. Beginning in 1974, he was also opposed by the more conservative Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). The JLP used the threat of socialism to build support among property owners and churchgoers, attracting more middle-class support. By 1976 the two politicians hired local gangsters to help them increase their hold on power.

The Jamaican political conflict is a long standing feud between right-wing and left-wing elements in the country, often exploding into violence. The Jamaican Labor Party and the People's National Party have fought for control of the island for years and the rivalry has encouraged urban warfare in Kingston. Each side believes the other to be controlled by foreign elements, the JLP is said to be backed by the American Central Intelligence Agency and the PNP is said to been backed by the Soviet Union and Fidel Castro.

Willy Haggart, born William Augustus Moore, also known as The Chief Of Staff, Bandit, Hutch, was believed to have been an underworld kingpin, was the reputed leader of the Black Roses Crew. Because of his cruel / brutal nature, as a young-man he was given the nickname "Willie Haggart", a patois corruption of "hog-heart".


  1. Obika Gray, Demeaned But Empowered: The Social Power Of The Urban Poor, Mona: University of the West Indies, 2004.
  2. The Yardies:BBC news documentary covering the Shower Posse and Lester Lloyd Coke (Jim Brown) and Tivoli Gardens Jamaica in the 1980s includes footage interview with 'Chubby Dread' 1994 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 17 April 2010.
  3. "Burry Boy and Feathermop: The violent duo that helped and shamed the PNP", Jamaican Observer, 20 January 2008.
  4. 1 2 The Daily Gleaner, 6 February 1979.