ZOSO 'daddies' - soldiers playing father role

October 17, 2017
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer Residents of Mount Salem, St James, interact with a soldier at a security checkpoint in the community.

Despite their initial reservation when the community was chosen as the nation's first zone of special operations (ZOSO), some residents are now heaping praise on the security forces, especially the soldiers, for the positive impact they are having.

"Many of them (the soldiers) have become like fathers to the children, especially the boys who have no father figures at home," said Joy Brissette, a resident of the community. "I have seen mothers regularly calling soldiers into their yards to speak to their sons who are misbehaving."

According to Brisettte, it would appear that the children, especially the younger ones, are very fond of the soldiers, as they are constantly seen speaking to them and asking them questions.

She said that at the checkpoints, soldiers can be seen at times checking the notebooks of schoolchildren and asking them questions about their schoolwork.




"The soldiers are like real fathers, you will even see them taking babies from their mothers and playing with them," said Brisettte. "It is hard not to like these soldiers."

Within recent weeks, news has surfaced of young women in the community getting involved intimately with the soldiers.

"Most of the soldiers are kind and understanding, even if they are not 'looking you', they will still treat you well," said Marsha Burnett. "At first, I was uncomfortable with this large number of soldiers with big guns, but now, I have no problem with them."

Interestingly, some of the persons with ties to some of the thugs, who have fled the community, are reportedly quite worried that other residents have become so comfortable with the soldiers that they might be passing on vital information, which could lead to those on the run being caught, sooner or later.

"Many people believe the soldiers are getting information because some of the men who ran away have been found in other communities and arrested," a resident told the Western Star. "What I like most is that since they came here in September, not even a 'scribs' no bust."

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