A SERIOUS SOCIAL CRISIS – Denham Town Jamaica offer parallels in Bahamian inner-city communities

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2014

Denham Town, Kingston, Jamaica: The first full moon of the year rises over the mountains of Denham.
Hopefully, its scerenity portends peace for this gang war-torn community.
See this weekend’s post for more of life in Denham from a Bahamian perspective.

By Gladstone Thurston

Denham Town, Kingston, Jamaica: Women here are blessed with what it takes to make Sampson reveal his secret, and they have it all in the right places.

Moreover, they have no qualms parading it to the max for all and sundry to drool over.

They ensure that the clothes they wear, or the lack thereof, accentuate the sexuality of their fine physique.

And, they walk with more wyne than have Butler and Sands, and Burns House put together.

Boungy bouncing all over the place as if those shorts were filled with jello. And poom-poom, booffing off like a fresh loaf from Purity Bakery.

If their intention is to seduce the opposite sex, they have succeeded, perhaps beyond their wildest expectations.

More than anything else, this exhibition of sensuality has succeeded in attracting characters whose sole intention is satisfaction of their sexual appetite.

And therein lies the crux of a serious social crisis – the undesired arrival of children for whom there are no provisions for their sustenance.

Teenage pregnancy here is rampant, off the chain.

It appears clear to me that, almost every girl above the age of puberty either is a mother or is pregnant.

It must be a rite of passage into or a proof of womanhood that girls start having children as soon as possible, I thought.

Age of consent has been thrown out the window.

That children here are having children goes without saying.

Pregnancy among school girls is not uncommon.

Women breed prolifically and often times with different men.

The majority of families are headed by unmarried mothers, many of whom have no idea where their children’s fathers are.

There are common law arrangements where mother and father live with each other but are not married to each other, but such relationships change regularly.

Accommodations in Denham are cramped at best, by far insufficient to satisfy the ever growing need.

And remember folks, all this is being played out against the backdrop of Denham, where I presently reside, being one of Jamaica’s most violent communities.

Gang warfare has wreaked such havoc on this west Kingston slum, the whole town had to be placed under a police-military lockdown so as to restore order.

Armed soldiers and police patrol the streets and man military check points.

It is in such a town, saddled with runaway unemployment, crumbling infrastructure, gang warfare, violent crime, political manipulation and no prospects of a brighter day, innocent souls are being born, to be molded by the same environmental conditions that shaped their parents’ attitude, to repeat the same vicious cycle all over again.

With Denham, I see parallels with our Bahamian experience, mainly in New Providence’s so-called inner cities.

The fact that we so readily identify with and blindly adopt Jamaican cultural expressions without any regard for conditions and circumstances that gave rise to those expressions, has me troubled.

Could Denham be a warning for us as to where the likes of Bain’s Town or Grant’s Town or Englerston or Fox Hill or Farm Road, or the entire nation, is headed?
-o-
(Another in a series of articles on my two-month sojourn in Jamaica, January 5 through March 5)