There are many young people in our communities that have attained neither an education nor a skill. They are our fellow brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles , cousins etc. Yea! Our fellow man, flesh and blood. They are a part of our world, our lives and our being. They will not simple vanish in oblivion and of such we must find ways to help them to become productive, to become skilful and educated so that they can in turn help themselves and others alike.
Commentary Jamaica Magazine

"Chances Are."

The night is utterly silent except for the occasional sounds of roaring car engines in the distance. In pitch black darkness Derrick stood pondering. A sense of impending failure and doom bring on him a scary feeling of anxiety. In the past, somehow he has always fought his way through, but lately, there seems to be no way out and so Derrick’s hopes of wanting to make ends meet (legally) have seemingly come to an abrupt end.

Fenced in by mounting years of hardships he paces the floor like a caged wild hog, panting, just looking for a way out, a chance to break the tether of poverty. Entrenched and trapped, he must find away to alleviate his imprisoned financial needs. Supporting his youth and baby mother isn’t easy, and his aging, ailing parents are added pressure. Things are tight right now, ‘real tight man’ and unpleasant or risky as it is , there is no other way possible. Yea! In the words of Marley he chants, “Chances, chances are, one might not know, who can secure my chances? Sorry for the victim now.”

Earlier in the day Derrick check a brethren and rent a ‘tool.’ Money upfront , no questions asked the ‘steel’ is delivered. It is tucked away for the entire day beneath is shirt. Finally the time has come, ‘ man -n-man have to make a move.’ Frantically he pulled the ‘matic‘ from his waist, switch the light on and with a ‘ Scarface Tony look’ inserted the clip. Moments later he is out the door, he has made up his mind, he is off to ‘mash a work.’

Like so many others in the ghetto Derrick’s situation is not isolated… seen… The burden of no available meaningful and sustainable jobs often brings a man to desperation and brazen acts of unlawful means of survival. The modus operandi surely is a conflict between the perpetrator senses of morality as opposed to his own boldness. It is not like he is cut out to be a rude boy, a thief or a thug. Circumstances of need and not greed are often the contributing factors to ‘flat foot hustling’ . Yea man, for real.

Each day ‘man-n man’ hold them corners, huddled in groups, that is scores of young men just liming, carefree but not ‘kaylis nor whutlis‘, unemployed but not unemployable, uneducated but not illiterate, uncouth, yet pious and loving… its just that there is nothing to bring about real changes, no resources to enhance their potentials. Many try to get a visa to go abroad but just as many don’t get through.

Like others who have made it authentically, those left behind do possess dreams and aspirations of becoming successful and socially acceptable , ‘Yeaman!‘, . But as with other things in nature, they struggle endlessly to make it upstream. The sad reality is that the vast majority wont make it…not unless comes a tidal wave of assistance.

The battles to stay alive are often violent, short and brutish. Hence the brother Anancy mentality , crafty and dog-hearted in order to get ahead. Ghetto Youths have a sense of purpose but to have it realized is a surmountable task.

The need to be educated is of utmost importance. Often it open the doors to progress and worthy accomplishments. Learning or having a skill is meaningful and gainful as a career. Yea, man-n-man can use that ‘eat a food’ and provide for their family, yet, meeting those criteria without job opportunities are amount to nothing… but get it anyway.

Still there are many young people in our communities that have attained neither an education nor a skill. They are our fellow brothers and sisters, aunts, uncles , cousins etc. Yea! Our fellow man, flesh and blood. They are a part of our world, our lives and our being. They will not simple vanish in oblivion and of such we must find ways to help them to become productive, to become skillful and educated so that if or when the opportunities come, they are ready to take up the mantle.

Give the youths a ‘bligh’, help them out with a job or take one under your wings and give him/her full apprenticeship of your trade. We must develop the concept of each one help one in order to dismantle the colossus flow of indigence, crime and idleness among the youths. We cannot rely on government totally to come up with the solutions. ‘Y’u done know seh’ exploitation and manipulation awaits them.

Provide the youths of today with the hopes of tomorrow and in so doing we all can sing,

Chances, chances are some might not hold out
Chances are, hang on right now
Though-oh-oh-oh my-my days are filled with sorrow
I see years of pride tomorrow

About the author

Kharl Daley