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All’s not well in Paradise


Carlos Atwell

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PARADISE VILLAGE, St Lawrence, Christ Church, is not the place it used to be, but it is still a place where brotherly love reigns.
  It a place which has spawned top Barbadian athletes in both football and cricket and home to two clubs – Dover Cricket Club and Paradise Football Club – which are both championship teams.
  However, it is also a place where the community feels distanced from what used to make them great. Street Beat visited the place called Red Beard to find out what the men of the area thought.
  “The playing field doesn’t belong to the community any more. You have to be affiliated to a club and club fees high so the people in the ghetto are not affiliated with a club,” said one man, who requested anonymity.
  Despite this, he said they still had the best of all worlds – beach, entertainment and food – the only thing is the young men have to gather under a tree rather than on a playing field.
  Dwayne Phillips said there was plenty of talent on the block, from carpenters and labourers and mechanics, but it was the system holding them down.
  “It’s not like the men uneducated, but it is the way the system works. Some people vote and get work but not we li’l people and if a man can’t get work he finds something else to do to get money,” he said.
  Demarro Douglas works as a busboy but is looking for something better. He said he applied for a tiling course but it was full, so now he must wait until it was available again. He said once he started earning real money, he would look to buy a house and “build something in life”.
  Pete “Sanchez” Eastmond said it was not a case of people wanting to get into illegal activities but turning to them because they had no other choice.
  “Everybody don’t want to come to a block and sell weed but they need a chance. Barbados has a lot of talented youth,” he said.
  Eastmond has just returned after more than four years abroad and said things had changed. A former red cap in Barbados and kitchen porter overseas, he said he now had to hope for the best.
  “What I want to see happen is more assistance for people looking to get a police certificate of character and more jobs for the youth. Everybody deserves a chance,” he said.
  Another man, who only identified himself as “Scotty”, said life was not getting any better job-wise, but life in Paradise Village was good.
  “Things dread and like it not getting any better. People are getting laid off every day, but everybody here cool. It is a nice friendly neighbourhood – when people come, they don’t want to leave,” he said.
 Still, Scotty has little good to say about politicians, who he said promised much but delivered little.
  “Politicians come and talk sweet, but when you approach them with business plans they don’t get back to you. I have a certificate in electronics, but the only job the representative could get for me was sweeping bus stands. That is disrespect,” he said.
 Scotty said he thought about going back to study but could not find the time as it was a full-time job simply surviving, adding he had children to feed.
 Harvey Lewis is faced with a similar problem. He, too, cannot find the time to further his education.
 “I tell myself when I find the time I will further my education, but the money coming in is so small and I have a wife and three kids to look after. [Member of Parliament John] Boyce has managed to find jobs for a couple men, so I approached him too but no word as yet,” he said.
 Lewis is currently employed selling coconut water and jelly on the highway, but wants to do better.
 “I’m looking to raise some money and get into landscaping or get a truck and sell my own coconuts,” he said.
 As for life in Paradise Village, Lewis said it was “sweet” but had problems with the way the nearby playing field was being run.
 “The club mostly entertains cricket, but it’s not so easy to arrange a football tournament. They should give people the chance to hold football competitions or even a community fair for the children,” he said. (CA)

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