The Jamaica Constabulary Force’s use of gospel singer Rian Davis’ cover version of The Righteous Twins 1969 song Satan You Can’t Prevail in a social media post, calling for the capture of wanted man Omar “Satan” Fogo, has left Jamaicans in stitches.
Within the Constabulary Communications Unit’s Wanted Wednesdays notifications, where a list and photos of Jamaica’s most wanted men are shared, the JCF’s Communications department, in likening Fogo to his namesake, the devil, urged his compatriots to push him out of his hiding place.
“Don’t believe his lies, if Omar ‘Satan’ Fogo, is telling you to hide him, don’t do it. Call Crime Stop immediately,” the Instagram post read, along with the notification that the man, who frequents Cornwall Mountain, Mount Stewart and Bethel Town communities in Westmoreland, was wanted for a double murder.
However, what really caught the attention of the followers of the police force’s IG page, was the accompanying music, which was laid on a Revival/Mento beat, in which Davis is heard warning the devil in the intro: “Satan yuh si you, mi gat news fi yuh. Yuh lose man,” then belting out the chorus: “Satan yuh can’t prevail, Satan yuh can’t prevail…”
As followers cheered the Constabulary along and jeered the wanted man, some said that the police had already picked out Satan’s Nine Night song, while others commended the officers for using humor in their posts to “normalise” being an informant.
“Find Satan Officers, I beg you. Satan needs to stay in hell, thanks so much for the fine jobs you’re doing. Get satan now. People please please call in satan NOW. Families hurt because of him, one woman said.
Another woman said that the JCF’s Communications Unit had scored big time again, and that the post was another indication why the police won the Jamaican Chamber of Commerce’s Marketing Excellence Award in May this year.
“That award you won 🏆 well deserved. This page is lit, c’mon satan you can’t prevail, tun in yourself before Jesus catches you, Amen,” she noted.
Notwithstanding, others made it clear that despite the shenanigans of the wanted man, they found humour in the situation.
“In all honesty if me was dis man and see this mi a laugh,” one amused woman noted, while another pointed out: “Mi sey dem always choose the right song dem 😂😂”.
“JCF please stand in the naughty corner,” another added.
The original song Satan You Can’t prevail was a gospel track, first recorded by The Righteous Twins in 1969 for Clarendon native Alvin Ranglin’s GG’s Records. It was also released that year on the UK-based Blue Cat label, which was a subsidiary of Trojan Records.
The use of Reggae and Dancehall popular culture, including slangs and songs, to promote its anti-crime messages is a strategy that has been undertaken by the Constabulary for several months now, in its bid to nullify the anti-informer culture and to destigmatize being an informant, as a means of catching criminals who have been creating mayhem across the island.
It began just around the time the Joint Anti-Gang Task Force (JAGTF) which is a collaborative effort of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), was established back in March last year to disrupt criminal activities across the island, via the deployment of specially trained police and soldiers.
The JCF’s Corporate Communications Unit had first started its use of popular music in its social media campaign with the lyrics of Skeng’s Gvnman Shift, to entice younger Jamaicans to assist in weeding out the hoodlums from within their midst by asking them, among other things, whether they had knowledge of “these gunmen shifts” where criminals ‘patrol’ communities, ‘lock endz’ and terrorize residents during day and night time.
“Tell us ’bout the ‘endz’, ‘system yaad’, ‘shoes’, ‘stick’ ‘tall up’ and the ‘K’. The JAGTF is resolute and unwavering in its mandate to rid communities of guns, gunmen and gangs. Tell us what you know. Help us to create a safer Jamaica,” the Constabulary had noted back then.
After turning to Gvnman Shift, the JCF had moved on to Malie Don’s Bank, to issue what seemed like a veiled threat, to braggadocious scammers, pointing out that they were under the security forces’ radar.
“Yes, Miss Jen. We’ve seen the videos, too. We’re on it,” the JCF had noted on a Crime Stop post, referencing Malie Don’s pro-scamming song, which had been trending particularly for the line “Yes, Miss Jen, I’m still a thief/Still here committing criminal activities.”
The JCF had also released a video of the JAGTF in action, with the Inner Circle mega-hit Bad Boys as its soundtrack, which showed convoys of police patrol vehicles with sirens blaring, rolling slowly through communities, and well as intimidating-looking policemen carrying out searches of men, with backup support from the soldiers.
Bad Boys, which peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, was used in the action-comedy movie Bad Boys starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence which was named after the song.
Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson had said in a subsequent interview last year that the social media campaign had been reaping much success, as numerous persons who were featured in the Wanted Wednesdays Campaign had been captured and 17 of Jamaica’s 88 most wanted men were nabbed or had become scared and turned themselves in.