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Ottley Hall resident: We need greater community spirit

Ottley Hall resident: We need greater community spirit

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Stricter parenting, along with a greater community spirit, could help the once peaceful Ottley Hall area to rebound from its current state of despair.{{more}}

That’s the view of a number of residents in the Kingstown suburb, who believe that the level of crime and violence in their besieged community could be drastically reduced, if the members take more pride in the area and have respect for life.

One such resident is plumber Samuel Gary, who, along with other persons, recently spoke to SEARCHLIGHT.

They place the blame squarely on the shoulders of ‘the younger generation’ which they say is leaving a trail of pain and despair in the village.

Gary, who claimed that he has lived in the area for more than two decades, said that parents need to play a greater role in the lives of their children, and rebuke or even turn them in, when they become involved in criminal activities.

The father of four said that some of the persons who have vowed to help in the building of the community turn their backs on their commitments when their children get caught up in the web of crime.

“We have parents encouraging children in the activities that they do. For example, a mother may know she son name calling in something like stealing, and he may bring home an item and she wouldn’t say ‘Son I hear your name calling; where you get this? I would like you to take it back’.”

“The parents condone half of the violence; they keep their mouth hushed,” Gary added.

Shopkeeper Jemma Wickham, who has been living in the area for the past 22 years, shares the view that parents need to play a greater role if Ottley Hall is to become better.

The mother of two adult girls says that parents and guardians need to reinforce morals into their wards.

“A lot of the parents don’t give right to what is right and they don’t rebuke the children and that is one of the problems. I have a grandson coming up and I speak to him everyday….”

Wickham, who said that her shop was broken into once, lamented that some youngsters in the community would rather resort to stealing and petty crimes instead of pursuing honest means of employment.

Another shopkeeper, Alma Ferdinand, who has also been a victim of bandits, says that the thugs have a blatant disregard for the welfare of others, and to make matters worse, persons in the community usually turn a blind eye to the crimes, which are usually gun-related and involve burglary.

A resident of the area since 1995, Ferdinand said that it would be difficult for the community to get better, given the current situation, and called for tougher penalties for persons arrested and convicted of crimes.

“No matter what happen in Ottley Hall, nobody never, ever see. Either because of revenge, or they afraid, or is because they family involved…. They don’t care about night time or street lights; from 10 o’clock go back they start to work.

“When the young generation commit the crime, they get lock down, then they get let out back and they come and do the same crime.”

All three long-time members of the community agree that in years past the Ottley Hall area used to be safer to live in.

Although there are varying opinions on how the community could return to its peaceful beginnings, they agree that it is possible, as long as the residents play their part.

“The community is a good community, but I don’t know if some of them don’t like to see the people live good…. We need greater community spirit; they don’t have any community spirit,” one person contributed, while another called for more job opportunities for the youngsters, and another said that stiffer penalties for crimes, especially gun-related ones, could bring some hope to the area. (JJ)

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