COMMUNITY FOCUS: Wait-a-bit only wants the road and water

July 11, 2017
Melona Williams washes clothes at a small river flowing from the main spring in Wait-a-bit, Trelawny.
These yam farmers show off their produce which they say is for the export market.
The original dam where spring water flows. It is a minor water supply system of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation.
Yam farmer, Harris Rowe, prepares coal from fallen mango trees in Wait-a-Bit.

There are various stories about how Wait-a-Bit in Trelawny got its name. Among the legends is that the Maroons of the Cockpit Country used to wait in the area during their journeys to see if they were being trailed by British soldiers.

One resident, Patricia Williams, has another version. According to her, the name came about due to a request by a Spaniard, who, while on a trip through the area, asked his companions to "wait a bit" while he rested.

Wait-a-Bit is a traditional yam-farming community, but due to its cool climate, even strawberries were cultivated there during the 1980s.

The community is home to a large number of crystal-clear springs, residents say. Williams says that the population has dwindled significantly due to a lack of jobs and support for young farmers.

"The place is always cool; very quiet.. We don't have any problem. Up here is very friendly. We only want the road and water. There is no employment, though. That's why the young people are leaving, and the population get small because there is nothing. You would have more people doing agriculture, but dem no have no help (financing)."

Shopkeeper Lathania Williams also contended that although the young people are willing to work, there are no opportunities. Nevertheless, she saidn life was good in the community.

"There is not a lot of jobs, so, the majority of the young people are leaving ... Di man dem when dem a work, all 4 o' clock, dem gone a bush," she explained.

"We party nuff. Party keep inna di road here so and back to Lime Tree. Anytime party a keep inna Wait-a-bit, it always supported. Nothing else is here, so it is like drink out, big dance, and so forth," she added.

Her neighbour, Ransford Knight, known throughout Wait-a-bit as Dandy, told WESTERN STAR that the community was one of the best places to live in Jamaica.

"Mi like di place, man. Country yah so. We no hear no gunshot. We have banana everything fi eat. If a town wi deh, wi haffi buy dem something deh. Most a di people dem kind. Dem naw go mek yuh dead fi hungry," he said.

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