August Town residents cry for peace

January 24, 2018
Residents in August Town in St Andrew march while celebrating peace in their community last year.
In this 2017 file photo, Prime Minister Andrew Holness(centre) greets Sizzla during a march for peace by residents of August Town. Looking on is the Member of Parliament Fayval Williams (right).

Residents in August Town say they are hoping for calm after lives were lost earlier this week.

According to some community members, the ongoing war is now 'even'.

The latest flare-up occurred on Monday night when 29-year-old Christopher Hayles, a construction worker, was shot dead, and another man shot and injured along the August Town main road.

Police reports are that at about 8 p.m., Hayles and another man were standing on the roadway when they were approached by an unknown assailant who opened fire hitting the two.

They were rushed to hospital where Hayles was pronounced dead and the other man admitted.

Yesterday, our news team visited the community, which recorded zero murders in 2016, and residents said the mood was tense, as gunfire has once again become quite frequent.

"The area tense for about a month now. A reprisal gwaan, yes. Two person dead in a short space a time last year. One a dem is a young yute dem kill from Bedward Garden area and then man from ya so dead last night. Man dead from both side now, so now a the right time fi the things calm and bring peace," a male resident said.

THE STAR was told that a lot of youths are sitting idle and therefore it is easy to live a life of crime.

"That is where the breakdown is. The youths dem inna the community nuh have nothing actively a do, so dem a go live a life of crime. Once dem have the illegal gun, dem a go have conflicts and the first thing dem a go do a draw for the gun, cause it's their defence," another resident said.

Our news team understands that the latest murder has also affected businesses.




A business owner told THE STAR that "It affects all the business inna the area because it happen right here on the main thoroughfare. The rivals have to use this space to transact business, so people are scared to come out. Nuff a the business dem close because of what happen last night (Monday). The yute weh dead, his mother operate a business and she nuh open today."

Residents told THE STAR that they want to get back to zero murders, but they believe it will take a lot of work.

"We need more security inna the community fi nuh mek nothing else happen. The bigger body dem haffi just come together and get the youth dem weh involve and talk to dem individually. They can come to a solution, and right now a di best time. You can't go quell a war inna the middle. Both sides lose somebody now even though the dead people are not the ones involved, but the time is right. We nuh want it get worse. The war deh pan draw now," a youngster in the community said.

Meanwhile, councillor for the area, Venesha Phillips, has called for a better approach to resolve conflicts.

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