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Ruby and Work Hall in St Philip are drastically different to how they used to be. Gone are the acres of canes and cart roads, replaced by housing and paved roads. However, the true extent of how much the neighbouring communities have changed depends on who you ask. Mitchell Clarke, who was born in the area, said the sense of togetherness of the community had gone with the canes. “Right now a lot of strangers have moved in and people are not together like before,” he said. However, Ryan Burke had a different point of view. He too has been a Ruby resident for many years – 35 to be exact – but said that while the scenery had changed, the people were still just as warm. “It was more of a village then with cart roads, cane grounds and less houses; we only had a couple houses around. It was nice – not violent – you could leave your home open and it is still the same way today,” he said. He told Street Beat that his grandmother, Ethel “Dot” Burke, was the oldest resident of Ruby at 93 years old. Ryan was walking his three-year-old son Ryniko home when we met him. He said it was a good place to raise a family as the people were friendly and there were no problems with crime since the majority of people in Ruby had been raised there. Stacia Hoyte is a relative newcomer to Ruby. She said she and her five children moved in seven years ago and found it to be “alright”. “Nobody really interferes with nobody; it is a cool place and a good place for a family as the older ones would look after the children,” she said. Not everyone is wholly satisfied with life in Ruby. A group of young men from “Keke Alley” said the area was too dead and the police were too strict. “Whatever we hold, the police does come to shut it down. If we hold a fete, by 7 o’clock, the police say shut it down,” said one man, who identified himself as “Mayden” and “Martin Lawrence”. The men said they passed the time, when not trying to find employment, by playing cards, dominoes, road tennis and football. They were liming at a shop run by “Short Man”. He said he helped his mother run it and planned to keep it in the family. “My mum has been running this shop for more than ten years and I plan to keep it going until I dead,” he said, adding he would encourage his children to continue the tradition as well. Directly next to “Short Man”, his sister Lisa Hurdle operates a food shop. She said she catered to all kinds. “I cater for everybody – from the meat mouts to the rastas. It kinda slow right now but I usually sell out,” she said, adding she only recently began selling food as she is usually seen selling newspapers. As for the area, Hurdle said it was peaceful but she was not too fond of the swearing and smoking of the young men nearby. Still, she said they were a unified front and no one from outside the district could come and do any foolishness. Dollares Maynard is an elderly Work Hall resident. A plantation worker for all her life, she said she knew the value of hard work and the hardships of being poor – things today’s youth knew little of. “I work hard during my time but young people don’t want work. They need to learn manners and how to speak to people,” added Dollares, which is how she spells her name.