Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Peaceful playground - Jones Town residents say no need for an SOE in their community

Published:Friday | September 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke
Members of the security forces patrol Jones Town during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner with Unattached Youths forum last Thursday.
Shari Hawkins (centre) questions why her peaceful community is included in the area where a state of emergency was declared last Sunday.

In the not-too-distant past, the inner-city community of Jones Town in south St Andrew was a hotbed of criminality, driving fear into the minds of law-abiding people living there and those who only heard its name.

But the community has changed much in recent years and the residents have declared their community safe and welcoming to outsiders.

"You don't have to be afraid of Jones Town again; that was one time. Now things different," said Shari Hawkins, a young resident of the community during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management On the Corner with Unattached Youths forum at the intersection of Byrnes and Love streets last Thursday.

According to Hawkins, the community has again found its energy in the thriving nightlife on offer, including round robins and the weekly 'Unity Party' held on Saturdays in the area known as 'Gaza'.

She noted that Jones Town is included the section of the Corporate Area where a state of public emergency was declared last week, and questioned why the crime free community should be subject to the restrictions which come with the declaration, including early closure for shops and bars.

"Right now, they say we are under the state of emergency and we don't know the reason why. We want to know why because things are good with us now," added Hawkins.

She told Gleaner editors and reporters that while residents of Jones Town are not opposed to the enhanced security measure, they are concerned that it will impact their weekly parties which help to maintain the peace and fellowship in Jones Town.


Jones Town 'nice'


Hawkins was supported by fellow resident Damion English, who declared that Jones Town is nice now.

"Being a bad community was back then, now it nice, you can come here anytime. You can come and leave your car and nobody is going to trouble it," declared English.

He was supported by several others who participated in the forum, as they argued that the community is among the safest in St Andrew, mainly because residents see a need for lasting peace to give their children a chance at life.

"I have been living in Jones Town for the past three years, and I can guarantee you that since that time I have lived here, I have not heard or seen child molestation by older guys," declared Tia.