Mon | Oct 22, 2018

On the Corner with EPOC | Wrong address - Gregory Park residents being judged based on where they live

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarlene Davis
Zandra Lewis (right), a concerned Gregory Park resident.
Fabian White, Gregory Park resident.
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It has home to at least two criminal gangs, and has often been in the news for outbreaks of deadly violence, but residents of Gregory Park, St Catherine, say that is no reason for the entire area to be branded, as is being done now by some employers and even schools.

According to the residents, they are often discriminated against whenever they reveal their Gregory Park address.

The residents appealed for a fair chance during a Gleaner On the Corner with the Economic Programme Oversight Committee (EPOC) forum, last Tuesday.

"As people who live in the so-called ghetto, when we send out a rÈsumÈ, or the people in the community send out requests for loans, our address alone is a problem," declared Fabian White.

"If I request a loan, but the people in Beverly Hills also request the same loan, with my address, because I live in the ghetto, the people on the hills get it. I would like that to change," added White.

 

SCHOOLS REJECTING STUDENTS

 

He was supported by Zandra Lewis, who charged that her son was rejected by an educational institution because administrations there thought that being from the Gregory Park community he would have a negative influence on the rest of the population.

"I have a little boy going to school, the address have a lot to do with it, because if him coming from Gregory Park them not going to take him, them say the Gregory Park area is very bad, and them don't want no children coming from Gregory Park, so them turn them down," alleged Lewis.

She said she first found herself in this situation while seeking a transfer for another son who was attending high school at the time.

Lewis said she tried numerous schools in Portmore and extended her search to the Corporate Area, but the replies were usually the same, and she believes it stemmed from her address.

"You have some who no want tell you say a because a your address, but you have some will bluntly tell you say, 'You're from Gregory Park, no Gregory Park, no Gregory Park'," said Lewis.

According to Lewis, even though her son has graduated high school now, he still faces the same challenges when it comes to seeking employment, because his address remains the same.

She is urging employers to give persons from her community a change to prove themselves.

"I would tell them don't watch the place, there's good and there's bad, it's not the place you giving the job, is the people them who need it and who is interested. You have a lot of good people that come out of Gregory Park," said Lewis.

She added that the situation has reached a point where persons will come to visit residents of the community, but stay on the outskirts because they are told by persons not living there that it was a "bad" place.

"Them just a reject you and a say, 'Lawd, me nah go dung deh so, Gregory Park bad, you have to meet your friend out the front,' and that is bad, man, we need to change it, this have to be fixed, one and two people in here might do bad things, but not all of us in here bad," said Lewis.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com