Thu | May 25, 2017

West Kingston's cry

Published:Tuesday | August 4, 2015 | 8:00 AMGary Spaulding

Battered and bruised by unabated bloodletting, with many killed and many more maimed, for the people of West Kingston, the story of their lives is a gory script of a neverending story.

Residents of the besieged community are declaring that crime-fighters in the community are dead on target in their diagnosis of the ills afflicting the community.

Born and bred in the heart of the war-torn community in the days when don ruled supreme, Claude, a resident, sought to assure The Gleaner that for the vast majority of residents, the security forces are welcomed to sweep the place clean, to make life better for the people of the community.

The people say policing will not work without the necessary social interventions to allow them to bury the hatchet with warring neighbours.

As such they are calling on the members of the security forces to treat their community as they would Cherry Gardens - visit - not invade - as often as they like.

"West Kingston is a part of Jamaica as is Cherry Gardens and as such, is subject to the rule of law," declared Claude as he sat among a group of men.

As petty crimes compete (that they do not bother to report) with murderous rampage in the troubled community, the residents are pleading to the political directorate to listen to the police.

It's an area where they lament that the business community is left to "sink or swim" as extortion is rampant in the area.

"Robbery and petty crimes are a daily occurrence and the police seem incapable of arresting or stemming them in any way," said Claude. "I totally agree with the notion that most of these crimes are under reported."

This, he said was so because victims believed it was a useless and futile exercise to report them to the already over burdened police as there is no guarantee of any solution.

"So they just write it off as a loss," he said.

Claude, who also operates a business in the area, suggested that the security forces must employ all means necessary to bring the curtains down on the violence hitting the community from all angles.

With all that's happening, the sentiments that have rang out throughout the community for him and others is: "Oh for a new place to call home."

For the peace-craving people, its more than unbearable that crime-fighters, children and women are not spared in what is being described as an all-out war in all sections of the community

And just like Claude, for another resident and business operator in the community, peace and security of mind are paramount.

"Given the opportunity to leave West Kingston for a more disciplined and peaceful community, I'd grab it with both hands," he asserted as he stands in the middle of the war involving Matthews; Luke and Chancery Lanes.

But as much as they long for the day when peace is no longer an elusive dream, the residents have no desire to return to the time when the 'Don' reigned supreme.

Johnny, a resident of war-riddled Denham Town suggested to The Gleaner that the social ills can best be addressed by first attacking living abject conditions.

"Housing in many cases, is deplorable and animal-like," asserted Johnny. "The next to be tackled is unemployment and then to educate the youth and somehow, diminish the allure and attraction to the gun."