'Hannah Town World Cup' signals hope for violence-plagued community
In deep discussions are (from left) Samuel Anderson, Rasheed Morris, Dwight Spence and Andrew Geohagen during a game in the 'Hannah Town World Cup' last week. (Photo: Garfield Robinson)

With warring factions signalling an end to the violence which has claimed several lives in the west Kingston community of Hannah Town, a level of normality has returned to the area to the delight of residents who hope the peace will last.

Last week the residents celebrated the peace with what they dubbed the 'Hannah Town World Cup'.

This was a scrimmage football competition at the community centre on Hannah Street and several residents indicated that they have not been able to participate in any leisure activity in the area for sometime because of the bloody conflict which intensified in recent months.

At the end of the competition, team Upsetta emerged as champions, while team Outlaw placed second and Young Upsetta third.

Action from one of the games during the 'Hannah Town World Cup' in the violence ravaged community last week. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)

The football matches attracted the attention of the young and old who were glad for the chance to be out having fun in the community.

Ten-year-old Maciek Lincoln-Clunis told the Jamaica Observer that he loved the fun which the games brought instead of the constant violence around him.

"The games have been very nice. It is a good experience. I am very happy," said Maciek.

The football competition was perfect for Lando, a music selector and a member of one of the teams.

"Di vibes nice. The football competition hot. I love the unity in the place," Lando told the Observer.

According to a female resident, who gave her name as Heaven, they were elated to see the football competition being held in the community.

"We love to see the togetherness, the unity and the peace that we have wanted for a long time in the community so it could have an uplifting spirit," said Heaven.

For Tangena Thompson, the competition was amazing. She recalled how difficult it was when the guns were being fired.

"The violence was really intense and we couldn't walk freely. If we wanted to go somewhere to chill, it wasn't possible because we had to be looking around us and wondering if gunshot ago fire. This is amazing. We can walk anywhere we want to.

"It is a privilege and honour to really see that men from different corners, streets and lanes come out and participate with us. We really don't want this to be a one-time thing where when this is finished today, that is it. We want something continuous. We want residents to know they can always come out and have fun," added Thompson.

Danville Palmer, one of the organisers and players in the competition, said it was important for the youth to experience positivity. Palmer was a key member of the winning Upsetta team.

"It is a joy and a beauty for the community. I would love to see a lot more of this right through the years. I am thankful to everyone who played a part in this. We are begging for more of this, more events and fun.

"We are looking forward to the future and to greatness. Peace is love and love is peace. With peace, every mind comes together. It is funny to say we are starting all over again but we have to keep trying to get to where we want to reach. It is a beauty to see my community like this. We are looking for a greater Hannah Town for the coming 2024 and further on," said Palmer.

BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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