Denham Town residents blame poor parenting for gang violence

BY RACQUEL PORTER
Observer staff reporter
porterr@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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Some Denham Town residents are convinced that poor parenting is contributing to the upsurge of violence in the community.

The residents made their views known to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, a day after the second Zone of Special Operations (ZOSO) — the Government's latest crime-fighting strategy — was established in a section of their community.

The Administration has said that the ZOSO is intended to contain crime while safeguarding the human rights of residents and promoting community development through social intervention initiatives. It requires a heavy presence of the security forces in the declared area for at least 60 days.

On Tuesday, Police Commissioner George Quallo said that the decision to implement the ZOSO in Denham Town was due to a proliferation of criminal gangs perpetrating prolonged violence and rampant criminality in that area.

Yesterday, the residents who spoke to the Observer pointed out that improper supervision of children throughout the community has propelled them to join gangs and engage in illegal behaviour.

“No matter what the police try it a go help out the situation little, but at the end of the day it all boils down to parenting,” said one resident who asked not to be identified.

“Mi back you on that,” another resident chimed in.

The mother of two argued that too often children are left roaming the streets as their parents attend parties.

“Mother gone 'bout them business, weh you expect a go happen to the children? Discipline has to start from them small. It haffi start from the home,” the 57-year-old woman said.

The woman, who was quick to point out that she welcomed the ZOSO, said: “I like it. A no pure hooligan live here. Them (police and soldiers) deal with me good. I don't have a problem with them. Mi walk with my ID. Mi love it. I love every moment of it.”

According to the woman, some of the parents support wrongdoing.

“Anybody weh have bad man son, you know it. Them walk and bum. You can't look on them. You can't talk to them 'bout dem pickney. The same pickney them will shoot you,” the woman continued, adding that some parents “have no reasoning ability”.

Another resident, who said she has been living in the community for 40 years, argued that the main reason that children are always caught in crossfire is that they are always on the street.

“Them no under no supervision. Mother a send pickney go to man fi money, weh yu expect a go happen?” the mother of four said.

She argued that while some parents claim “nuh better nuh deh”, there are opportunities that they can take advantage of.

Noting that she went and enrolled her daughter at HEART prior to her obtaining five of six Caribbean Secondary Examination Council subjects, the woman said some parents allow their children to do whatever they please.

“Suppose you hear how them talk to them mother! My daughter soon 40 and she never hiss her teeth at mi and is here she grow. Some of them have five children and is only two a dem alive. Parents a bury pickney,” the woman lamented.

Anticipating the social intervention phase of ZOSO the mother said she is hoping that something will be implemented to curtail the lack of parenting in the community.

One resident, who was obviously frustrated with the spate of violence in the community over the years, said in a hushed tone that there are a lot of guns and gunmen in the community. “Dem fi find them and get rid of them. Only thing is that human rights (advocates) a go get involved.”

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