Top 6 Biggest Stories of 2023: Jamaica


2023 for Jamaica was a year filled with a lot of bad news and some good news, in this article, we take a look back on some of the most talked about stories that dominated the local news headlines. 

Some of these stories include the SSL fraud case, the Chris Brown concert that was held at the National Stadium in Kingston, Gully Bop’s illness and death and the most recent, a brawl during the much-anticipated clash at Sting 2023. 

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This top six list was curated by yardhype.com

The following list will contain six of 2023’s biggest stories in ascending order, starting with the story that took place first since the beginning of the year. 

SSL Fraud Case

Jean-Ann Panton

At the beginning of the year, Jamaica faced one of its biggest financial scandals involving Stocks and Securities Limited (SSL) where it was found that a multimillion-dollar (over 30M USD) fraud was taking place behind its doors.

Major players at the institution were said to be embroiled in the scheme but only Jean-Ann Panton, former SSL wealth advisor, has been arrested and charged for the long-running (over a decade long) theft.

A list of victims who were defrauded by the scheme includes renowned Olympic Champion Usain St. Leo Bolt, who was reported to have lost millions of dollars (USD) to the fraud. The assistance of the FBI, FID, and the Fraud Squad were enlisted to unravel the case , the investigation is still ongoing.

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The Chris Brown Concert

Number two on the list of top stories is the Chris Brown concert that took Jamaica by storm and had people scrambling for tickets. The event was held at the National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica, and the ticket prices ranged from $6,750 (bleachers) to $1.5 million (Sky View Suite).

A few of the artistes that took the stage along with Chris Brown were Ding Dong, TeeJay, Sean Kingston, Byron Messia, Najeeriii and Aidonia.

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Phillip Paulwell’s Baby Mother and Daughter Killing

This shocking murder case started out as a kidnapping in September 2023, but was confirmed to be a murder investigation around mid-October.

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The perpetrator, reported to be naval officer Leoda Bradshaw, allegedly planned the kidnapping and murder of Phillip Paulwell’s babymother, Toshyna Patterson, and his 10-month-old daughter, Sarayah Paulwell.

Bradshaw was arrested and charged for the killings along with the three men reportedly hired to carry out the murders.

The nation was shaken when news of the victims’ burnt and discarded bodies being found hit the newsstands. According to reports, Bradshaw and an accomplice said to be her cousin, are expected to stand before the court on March 6, 2024. The other two accused have already been charged and sentenced to prison.

Jamaica 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake

One shock wave after another shook the island when Jamaica experienced the effects of a 5.6 magnitude earthquake that took place on October 30, 2023, that scared many and left others on edge for the next shake.

Videos of the quake showed people running for cover, reported asthma attacks, and goods being shaken from the shelves of multiple business places. Reports stated that the subsequent tremors were aftershocks resulting from the major quake which originated in Portland, 10km South of Buff Bay.

Gully Bop’s Death

Gully Bop
Gully Bop

In the number five position is the passing of Dancehall artiste Gully Bop, born Robert Lee Malcolm, on October 31, 2023.

The deejay died after a long-running stay in the hospital at KPH (Kingston Public Hospital). Gully Bop made multiple pleas to the public for help months before his death.

His grave digging was held on Saturday, December 30. The Wuk Offa Mi singer will be buried at his family’s plot in Lawrence Tavern after a funeral service scheduled for January 14, 2024.

Sting Brawl

Last but not least was the fight that broke out between Dancehall artistes Fully Bad and Honormasity during their performance onstage at Sting.

Video footage shows the two going at it and tumbling from the stage into a crowd that scattered as they fell. Both artistes were charged by police after the incident with the expectation of a court appearance on January 24, 2024.

Honourable Mentions:

Klansman Gang Trial

Although not as talked about as the stories on the list, our honourable mention is the Klansman Gang Trial which saw the One Don Gang leader Andre Bryan along with 15 others convicted earlier this year. Blackman was later sentenced to 39 and a half years in prison.

Reports state that over 800 lives have been lost in relation to gang violence, however, Deputy Commissioner Fitz Bailey remains steadfast in upholding the anti-gang strategy to subdue gang activity in Jamaica.

Alice, Crab Circle

Back in October of 2023, a crab/soup vendor named Alice was caught on camera doing the unthinkable inside an outdoor cookshop in Kingston. The video was recorded by another female vendor who also applies her trade at the now controversial spot; the short disturbing, and distasteful video ended when the female vendor caught in the act quickly adjusted her underwear.

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