Family keeps me in check - Page
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
During the last three months, there have been at least three cases of policemen allegedly committing suicide, which suggests that, for an alarming number of police personnel, working within the Jamaican Constabulary Force is a tremendously stressful experience.
Oftentimes, the anxiety that comes with a high-pressure job can become all-consuming, but according to District Constable Lester Page, focusing on family helps to keep things in perspective.
Page, 47, resides in the same parish (St Mary) where two of the recently deceased policemen lived, and is aware of the myriad personal and professional challenges young men face in the police force.
The happily married father of two told Family and Religion: "The hardest thing is just to keep working. You pray that you don't fall sick because there is a family depending on you."
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
"It's important to look after yourself because as long as you can stay fit and healthy, you can keep working and your family will remain comfortable. It's a difficult thing to hear your kids saying 'Daddy, I'm hungry', so I work hard and try to push myself so that I don't hear those words.
"It's not easy; back-to-school supplies for my sons (nine-year-old Alshayne and five-year-old Rajei) have cost me around $33,000 so far, but all I can do is my best."
The Oracabessa-based cop added: "My wife, Tanisha, and I always try to have a little savings put aside for these types of things. That way, we don't feel under so much pressure because we plan properly. Really, it's a good idea to start planning even before you have kids because they take a lot out of you.
"You should be planning right through to when they are grown because you don't want them to be in need of anything. If you want to be in a position to ensure there is always food in the cabinet for your children, you have to start putting things in place to secure your family from as early as possible."
Page enjoys his position as a driver for St Mary's recently installed custos, Errol Johnson, but believes the love and support he receives through family ties is the determining factor that helps him maintain control of both his finances and mental faculties.
He explained: "The main piece of advice I would give a new or young father would be to tell them they can't have kids and be running up and down with three or four different ladies because that will eventually mash up your household and your relationship with your wife.
"Each time you give a lady money, try to understand that cash could have gone towards caring for your children. Personally, I just stick to one lady and two kids because, that way, I will never find myself with my back against the wall or in a position where I don't have anything to give my children.
"I suggest to try and keep things simple. You will have ladies approaching you, but just make it clear that you have a wife and family. That way, you'll never be short of things to give them."