Published: Sunday | November 8, 2009
Residents avoid the streets in Waterhouse as thugs have residents cowering in fear. - File
THE UNWELCOME guest called crime has taken residence in several communities across the island,carrying with it 1,361 murders in the first 10 months of this year.
In many communities, news of another killing is no big deal and the sound of gunfire means, "Get flat!" and not "Get worried".
But there are times when the weight of the violence becomes much too much and residents reach out to security forces and the wider community for help.
That is now the case in Waterhouse, St Andrew, where law-abiding residents are in tears.
Waterhouse, located between Washington Boulevard and Spanish Town Road in St Andrew, has produced the current world's fastest woman, Shelly-Ann Fraser, many other outstanding athletes, and a number of Jamaica's leading musicians.
However, the community has long been infamous for acts of violence, which many say are not surprising when residents have dubbed their little sections Moscow, Havana, Cuba and Samokan in tribute to hot spots and dangerous characters who lived in these areas.
For the past eight weeks, the gang feuds have escalated, with 11 persons killed, at least two properties fire-bombed and several residents shot.
"Me live here for 40 years and this is the worst me ever see the place," one elderly man told The Sunday Gleaner team recently.
"Is pure gunshot, gunshot and is only since last Monday when the police and soldier them full up the place me go a me bed and wake up in the morning and me no hear gunshots," the elderly resident added.
"It start with one man a behave bad. Then it go to two bad man and then it go to four, and now the cancer spread where all outside man involved and it no matter who dem young boy yah kill," he added.
But it is not just the violence and the fear of violence that has left the people of Waterhouse weary.
"Di thugs dem a give trouble but at the same time we have to remember that there is no form of employment for the youth dem," an outspoken resident called 'Big Moose' claimed.
"You have so many factories on Spanish Town Road, but check how many youths from about the place get work. Many of them (unemployed youths) here have no food, no parents and the only thing them see is the gun, which becomes their form of employment."
Coming around with the police and the soldiers just means more guns and no opportunity for the youths," Big Moose added as he pointed to a large stretch of open land which he argued could be used to establish a skills-training centre.
"Those who can run will run/but what about those who can't?/They will have to stay/Opportunity a scarce, scarce commodity in this time I say," chants Buju Banton in his hit song Untold Stories. And that is a chant which is echoing in Waterhouse as the residents are added to The Sunday Gleaner's People Under Pressure.