I hate begging, but I have to ... young man yearns for a job
It's 4 p.m. and Kevin Smith, 26, is in downtown Kingston asking persons for any spare change so he can add to the $550 that he has to purchase a box of chocolates to sell.
"Honestly, mi nuh want do this. Yu feel me like beg? That's why mi out ya a do this," said the frustrated Smith.
He said he had just returned from Portmore, where he went in search of employment.
"Mi go through di scheme dem a look a 'days' work' and nuh get none. Mi walk from Greater Portmore to Naggo Head and did have $550 and mi spend $100 pay me fare, and a the rest mi have lef fi buy a box a chocolate fi sell so mi can mek a money," he said.
He fears he may have to turn to violence, after rejecting the temption for a number of years, to earn, as he says things are getting harder for him.
"More while' mi feel like give up 'cause a all 12 years now one a mi fren a say him have a gun fi gi me and mi a say no, but mi a think 'bout it now. Mi no have it, and when yu beg people, dem treat yu a way and more while mi feel like tell dem bout dem mada, 'cause yu think it easy fi come out ya come beg?" he said.
Smith said he is from an inner-city community in Kingston. He said he did not get to finish school because he had to stop going so that his younger sister could attend.
SOURCE OF FUNDING
Being on the streets and asking for money, which he uses to purchase goodies to sell, is his only source of funding. He uses the money from sales to purchase the things he needs on a daily basis, including food.
"Mi rather yu give me supm fi sell than beg yu a money, but mi caan do no betta 'cause people judge yu and me just have a tendancy fi say bad things. Even the other day a lady, although she mean me good, gi me $20 and say mek sure yuh no tek it buy nuh coke. But me turn to har and say, 'Miss, yu know say yu look more like a coke dan me. But mi did just want she feel like how me feel," he told THE STAR.
Smith said he is willing to work, but admitted that he has no particular skills that would make him stand out for a particular job.