Free but in prison! - Several residents of Bucks Common living without hope
For Omar Davis, a young man with little education, life in Bucks Common, May Pen, Clarendon, is like living in a prison without the bars.
"Is right here in Bucks Common me born and grow, man. Me never go a jail yet, but being here is like a jail me deh, and we want a buss, because when we get a buss, a bail we get. A so me see it, big man," Davis told a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner with Unattached Youths forum last Monday.
At an age, early 20s, when many young men are eyeing the future with optimism and hope, Davis, like many of his friends in Bucks Common, lives in fear of the authorities and a hopelessness that needs some form of salvation.
Davis said that Bucks Common, despite having talented and ambitious individuals, is a place destined to fail, because of its prior notoriety, and the attendant stereotyping and disrespect handed out to its residents.
"Nothing is happening in the community; every morning we wake up to the same thing. No work not coming in here, and we hardly can set foot outside the community because as the police dem see you, is one thing deh pon dem mind, that you are a gunman," said Davis.
"If you are walking to May Pen town and police stop you, them ask what's your name and then tell you say them know you because you shoot after them.
"If me even show me ID, next thing is lock up for me because a Bucks Common me come from. Is what kind a life dat bredda?" asked Davis with a bewildered look on his face.
Denevane Powell, another young man in his early 20s said that he agrees with Davis that life in their community is tantamount to being in prison.
"Here in Bucks Common we have no work; when you in prison you have no work, only sleep, eat and do nothing else, is the same thing we doing over here," said Powell.
"We need that to change. Is like we hopeless here. We want to be able to go out to work and help each other because many of us attended good schools, but the system stops us because of where we come from," declared Powell.
He argued that having been stereotyped and labelled by the police this could have a negative impact on the minds of the residents, and some have already started to believe the label that is being foisted upon them.
"Some of us can whole it, some can just take it easy knowing that it's just life, but otherwise may think of taking up the gun because it may seem to be the only option they have," said Juvane Gayle.
"It's not that they want to but we have to eat, and people need to live. It's that bad here. We are holding to onto life with every breath as is the last one, trust me," said Gayle.
He said all that is needed is for the Government, or some agency to explain to them the way out, "because it tough, but we still got life, which mean we nuh duppy yet," added Gayle.