Parties keep Southside youths in line, say residents
The decision by the police to frequently shut down parties while they are in full swing in the central Kingston community of Southside has left several residents disappointed and upset, even though the cops are only enforcing the Noise Abatement Act.
"The parties and dance keep the younger youth them kinda focus, and nah deal with no gun, nor no war. So when the party lock off now, it frass them out, because them can't mek a little money, and nobody nah go come round and give them nothing. So the party now help them strong up," declared Michelle Pinnock at a Gleaner/RISE Life Management on the Corner with Unattached Youths forum in the community last Thursday.
She argued that parties in the community not only keep the youths occupied but it also provides income through the round-robin system. Under the round-robin system parties are hosted by individuals, with everyone in that group having a night when he/she stages an event and collects the proceeds.
"Round-robin do a lot for Southside. Everybody who is in a round-robin throw some money and support it," said Andrea Davis, who operates and participates in round-robins in the community.
For small business operator Davis, when it is her turn in the round-robin it is a major payday. But the last time around her party was shut down by the police and she was charged for disobeying the Noise Abatement Act.
"It was a little bottle party, police came and said one bag of foolishness and charged me for noise abatement. I got locked up at Central [police station]. When I went to court, I paid $7,000 to get back the component set," related Davis.
She was supported by sound system operator Jahmar Dixon, better known as 'Mad Dawg', who argued that the music played during round-robin parties helped to keep the community together.
He said that although the police were sometimes willing to work with the residents, there was a problem of persons not being granted enteratinment permits from time to time.
"I have to give the police credit. From the other day, they have been giving permits; even if something happens, they stop it for a little while, but they realise that the people really need and depend on the round-robin here. So, right now, by a week pass or so, they free it up. They are not holding it tight again," said Dixon.
He noted that the police have embarked on a programme where they have been trying to get to know the residents more and argued that this should make the issuing of permits much easier.