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Temper threat - Southside residents call for conflict-resolution classes

Published:Monday | June 4, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Acts of violence have eased, but tempers still flare regularly among the unattached youth in the sometimes volatile central Kingston community of 'Southside', and long-time resident 'Mega' wants this addressed through conflict-resolution seminars.

According to Mega, the community needs monthly conflict-resolution seminars to teach residents how to de-escalate situations and also to outline the consequences of "deadly actions".

"We always depend on the police to intervene in these situations and oftentimes when they're not there, things escalate. We must begin to equip the residents with these skills and knowledge or risk returning to the dark days," declared Mega last Thursday during a Gleaner/RISE Life Management on the Corner with Unattached Youths forum.

He suggested that the initiative, which could either be government or privately organised, start in a central location in the community before being focused on specific persons or move from house to house.

"It won't impact everybody, that's the reality. But every one person that is impacted will share with a family or a friend, and that's how you effect change," said Mega.

"It may sound simple, but persons need to know how their life can change for the worse because of one bad decision made while in rage. They need to hear the negative impact it will have on their families, their kids, just because they chose to inflict damage on someone instead of talking it out or walking away," added Mega.

He said that while there was no violence in Southside at this time, persons were still seen walking with illegal weapons in the area.

"So, even though no shot nah fire, everybody is on edge that it can start back at anytime. So, these seminars would be for everyone in Southside. [It would benefit] those with a lot of pent up aggression who are out for revenge for whatever reason; or even at the domestic level, the tenant living in the tenement yard, for example, who gets in frequent arguments because somebody uses the bathroom and don't clean it," argued Mega.

Fellow Southside resident 'Charles' expressed concern about the almost permanent frown on the faces of many of his neighbours.

"I don't know if is because of the the lack of income which leads to hardship in most cases, or just the general inner-city atmosphere. But from their body language, to the tone of voice, a just frustration and anger [on display].

"So, now, when you offend a man or do something it [triggers] almost an automatic forceful reply. So, I would personally welcome an initiative like that to open up the minds of the residents," said Charles.