Commentary Jamaica Magazine

To cry for the Youth/ The Naked Truth

In a society where a man is valued according to his occupation and material possessions if he is unskilled or marginally employed and if he does not disappear in the world of the drunk and dope heads early, he must put up a struggle for his own survival. This is the reality of the youths of Homestead, Spanish Town next to Mc Vickers Lane where I grew up and no doubt the same for many other poverty stricken and politically, economically and socially neglected communities throughout Jamaica. When the youths have failed from the limited resources available to acquire the educational and technical skills to master and market their development to its full potential, society respond to them unkindly as “wucklis good fe nuttens”, ambitionless and countless other vituperative utterance not suitable for electronic print. If the youths must beat this dilemma they must articulate their own struggles.

First he may attempt to make himself visible by fathering “illegitimate” children by several different women to display his masculinity. He must posses the things in life that makes him worthy and respected, be it the latest model car, clothing and jewelry and since he cannot afford it, he must now resort to a life of hustling in order to fulfill these desires. To him there are no other alternatives, if he is lucky he will fly out on a visa to try and make life abroad preferable, America.

Working for relatively a pittance in order to achieve the goals of becoming accepted and respected or at best filthy rich is unrealistic and so the likelihood of becoming a vehicle for the Area Dons drug smuggling, extortions and holdup unfolds, hence the transport of unlawful acts within our communities. To many these acts to them are nothing merely than a survival thing.

Yet the youths of today still can be saved and conformed to the acceptable norms of society through hard work, dedication and guidance. While no one person can help everyone in the community, everyone can help someone in making a change and creating a platform for community building and self improvement. It is my belief that no man in a just system resorts to criminal activities. Every act of crime seems to stem from social and economic conditions.

Within every community are youths that are blessed with undeveloped skills. I have seen young men whom have never gone to a barber school cut and style hair so good it’s unbelievable, likewise young ladies doing each other hair and nails that has never set foot in a cosmetology class. Some have master pottery, molding and making figurines and craft with basic tools comparable to any masterpiece worldwide, while others doing carpentry, mechanical and electrical works without prior proper training way beyond satisfactory levels. And still there are many other skills and talents that are untapped and unmasked and unrealized that lies dormant in the cranium of the so called ghetto youths.

This seemingly vast set of intellectual and technical innovation within the minds of the youths needs to be captured but there are no vital systems in place to enhance, harness and en-mass their potential and abilities outside of the mainstream educational schooling. These individuals aught to be channeled into forming small enterprises where they can fully develop their skills and market their goods and services not only locally but internationally as the demand for Jamaican products by the emigrated “Yardy” population are ever increasing around the world. This can be funded through the concept of pooling whatever little financial resources they have together to amass working capital. Lending Institutions must make small loans available with the minimum of securities to guarantee and fund these operations while government organizations must assist with grants and subsidies and even scholarships too which will ultimately encourage the youths of the Diaspora. In the long run this will lead to social and economic prosperity.

Words of Bounty Killer, “Give the youths a bligh listen to their cry don’t full them head with noh bag a samfie…”

About the author

Kharl Daley