Montego Bay-based artiste Unknown Gringo does not believe that juveniles who commit minor crimes and misdemeanours should be incarcerated with hardened criminals.
"If you check the system, you will realise that youths commit opportunistic crimes out of hunger and desperation because their mom may not be working and can't afford certain things. When they go into the system, they link with hardened criminals and become even better criminals," Unknown Gringo, whose real name is Frantz Morris, said.
"The system needs to recognise more youths who can be saved the first time they get picked up, and mentor them, give them skills to survive, show them a better way, it is the only way to really stop crime, show the youths another way,"
Despite enhanced security measures, including the imposition of a state of public emergency (SOE), to curb St James' 2018 crime rate, the parish recorded over 100 murders last year. Last year's figure is significantly lower than the record 335 murders in 2017. The last time that St. James recorded fewer than 100 murders was the year 2006.
"Montego Bay just needs more working opportunities and more skills training for the youths. Not everybody can be an artiste, or a footballer or work in tourism, the community needs plumbers, skilled construction workers, painters, so that people can make a living and even export that talent overseas. Mobay is our city and as the music rise, we as artistes can also employ road managers, street promo teams, audio engineers and contribute to the society," he said.
In Jamaica, a large number of children between the ages of 12 and 18 have been arrested for serious crimes, known as category one crimes, include: murder, shooting, rape, robbery, larceny, and aggravated assault. According to statistics disclosed by Corporate Communication Unit between September 2015 and the end of September 2017, 1,400 children committed serious crimes. Boys accounted for the lion's share of the crimes.
"Only by changing the hearts of the youths do we have a real chance to save Mobay, and that can only happen if we all work together," he said.
The State of Emergency in Jamaica was lifted in January after the island’s government failed to secure a majority vote in Parliament. There was also agreement to extend the island’s Zones of Special Operations (ZoSOs) in St. James, Denham Town and Mount Salem.
Unknown Gringo has been gaining traction in recent months with a raft of hit songs including chart-riders like 'Money Factory' and 'Go Up' for Chase Mills Records in recent months.
Now, he has released a video for his latest release, “Money Factory” that is racking up thousands of views on YouTube.
“The video was released this week and it is doing very well, big up the producer Shabdon Records. My next project will be ‘Money Machine’ featuring Chronic Law, that has over 30,000 views so we will be doing a video for that soon,” Unknown Gringo said.
He is also gearing up to release his first EP, “Rise of the Unknown Gringo” which will feature seven tracks, some of which will be previously unreleased tracks in July 2019.
The artiste has performed at a number of 'JB Outta West' shows in Montego Bay and Negril, as well as several events all over Jamaica. He is booked to appear on one of the shows of this years Britjam in Montego Bay in March, as well as the Hague Agricultural show on March 6th.
He also recorded several singles under his own label, Desconocido Records.