Give them a chance, watch them soar - SDC rep confident that with support Bucks Common residents can rise above their past
Life has never been easy for the residents of Bucks Common in May Pen, Clarendon.
Over the years, the community has developed a reputation as one where deadly violence is an ever-present reality, creating a stigma that the residents say is unfair and undeserved.
Social Development Com-mission (SDC) officer Polly Anna Bailey has recently been assigned to the community, and based on what she has seen, she is convinced that it is ripe for development and the residents deserve a chance.
"There are 79 communities in Clarendon, of which 18 districts are in May Pen alone, including Bucks Common. So, I am here to see how best we can assist them in starting up a citizens' association, by giving them guidance and all the required help to get it up and running," said Bailey during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner With Unattached Youths Forum last Monday.
Highlighting the dramatic transformation of Canaan Heights, another once-volatile community in May Pen, Bailey said while there remains some low levels of crime in Bucks Common, the residents are feeling better about themselves and they are organised and doing well in an atmosphere with less criminal activity.
"If Canaan Heights can do it, I am certain Bucks Common can do it also. This community deserves a second chance and I am willing to work with the people here to achieve as much as is possible. The young people are crying for help, job opportunities, follow-up schooling and other things," said Bailey.
Bucks Common has little to none in terms of organised social activities, with no youth clubs, no organised netball team, no organised football team, with residents struggling to get past the notoriety it acquired in the past.
"If we get the help we need, just watch and see how we can change the place," an unemployed youngster, Damion Greaves, told the forum.
He was supported by Tameka Benjamin, who argued that it is easy to feel underprivileged and unwanted in society because of her home address.
Benjamin declared that all she wants is for people to give her, and the residents of Bucks Common, a chance to prove their worth as citizens.
"You know how sad it is when you try to get a work and you are denied because you live in a place like this? How can we survive, how can our children make it out when nobody is willing to try with them? If the SDC can make a difference, we welcome it happily, but right now is God alone we can call on," said Benjamin.