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Isaiah Laing Launches Point Blank Range

Isaiah Laing and Dr. Stanley Niaah

Point Blank Range is a title seemingly more befitting the life story of a thug than a lawman. But Jamaica is an island of paradoxes and chief among them is the vilified and celebrated "badbwoi police" the lawman seeming culled from the American wild west, part villain, part hero. Before his current turn as the CEO of Supreme Venture, producers of one of Jamaica’s most celebrated stage shows, Sting, Isaiah Laing was among the short list of lawmen who held the infamous title of ‘badbwoi’ police. Indeed, Laing was indelibly graffitied as a part of Dancehall culture through Tiger's 1990 hit song 'When'. 

Point Blank Range: A Jamaican Badman Police, The Isaiah Laing Story, was ushered into the world at the Police Officer’s Club on, Wednesday, January 15, 2014, approximately two decades after it was initially written.

Valerie Francis of the National Library of Jamaica and Isaiah Laing

The title however, was selected not merely to reflect Laing’s infamy as a policeman but also his multiple near fatal woundings. Laing, who retired from the Police force in 1996 after over 2 decades, noted that he was shot multiple times but refused to let go of the "reins".

"A lot of people don't know but I'm a dead man here talking to you," Laing said, explaining that he has been shot enough times that he should actually be dead. He regaled the audience with a story of one of the first times he and fellow officers went under cover in Jones Town

and were pinned down by well-armed gunmen.   

"This book was written in 1996," Laing told the audience. He explained that the book chronicles his exploits during his time policing the streets of Jones Town and Arnett Gardens in West Kingston. 

"In those days the media following us around. Some say its a good thing, but I think that if they were they would see that I'm not just standing here talking," he said arguing that he went above and beyond the call of duty to protect those in the areas he policed.MP Olivia 'Babsy' Grange

Dr. Stanley Niaah, the event’s guest speaker, described Point Blank Range as featuring short and spice and riveting chapters. She described Laing as a enigma who is the “bad man  Police, Super Cop, Ladies Man, Romantic, fearless Father, husband and spiritual man, both genteel yet also ferocious, now Sting Boss.”

"The book chronicles near death experiences, shoot outs and corruption," Dr. Stanley Niaah explained. 

She argued that the book’s title provides a marked metaphor for the contentious relationship between the police and the populace.Dr. Sonjah Stanley Niaah

"The book's title is not just sensational,” Stanley Niaah said. “It speaks to the way we take constant aim at the police." 

Many had gathered to lay down their testimony on Laing’s behalf, with speakers hailing from politics, entertainment and academia. Speakers included Clyde McKenzie, Josef Bagdonovich, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Kingsely Cooper and Professor Carolyn Cooper, as well other notorious members crime fighters Cornwall ‘Bigga’ Ford and Reneto Adams.Professor Carolyn Cooper

"I'm very proud to have known him for a long time. I can say that it has not been an easy road for him and he's a hard man fi dead," said Grange.

Adams commended Laing on publishing the book, noting that he too is engaged in such a feat. He explained that many in Jamaica assume that the police are not interested in the more intellectual pursuits, but that all policemen need to be guided by an ideology.

Professor Cooper, praised the calibre of the text, which is written by Dr. Vernella Fuller. A daunting number of 'badman' police including Laing, Reneto Adams and Bigga Ford

"Di book good,” Professor Cooper said. “mi naah mek mistake she dem fi put it pon CXC syllabus, mi no waan dem nyam mi raw, say mi a defend badman police."

Point Blank Range, retails at $2,000 and is available at bookstores islandwide, as well as via Amazon.