‘P’ is for pretty and not for politics

Written by Jermaine Evans


Photo by Dayne Morrison: Mural promoting ‘Pretty P Wednesday’, a dance held each Wednesday in the downtown Kingston community of Tel Aviv.

Notoriously divided the neighbouring downtown Kingston communities of Southside and Tel Aviv are maintaining a tense peace.

This is thanks to parties, albeit of the dancing and not the political kind. According to residents the dances ensure that the peace holds since the communities do not want the weekly events either cancelled by the threat of violence or being denied a permit by police.

Tel Aviv is aligned to the governing People’s National Party (PNP), and Southside to the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

“The dance have a lot to do wid it, coz dem know say a unity we a deal wid, the vibes no really start spread inna di community yet,” explained Nadine, one of a group of women who promote the weekly ‘Pretty ‘P’ Wednesdays’ in Tel Aviv.

“We want party whole night we no want no ‘shot a fire a we dance dem,” added another of the ‘Pretty ‘P’ Crew’.

While men do not cross over the borderline to attend dances in the next area, the woman are at least partying uninhibited.

However for the men in the communities, they remain out of touch with their contemporaries across the borderline – the divide, which has estranged them since primary school age.

Dwayne Watson, a sixteen-year-old high school graduates, was one of several Tel Aviv youths who joined in a discussion with JamaicaElections.com.

“Mi use to go a school inna di area and most a my friend them was from south, but right now mi can’t see them friend deh again,” said Dwayne. “Right now mi hear say couple a dem turn gangster, and some a dem still a go a school like me now.”

“A di politics cause the division inna di area, of course if mi did born a south, mi wuda afi a live bad wid my friend dem weh me have right now and dat no right … if you wear orange certain place yah now, a straight gunshot.”

In Southside, engineer ‘Blacks’, 28 – the only person there willing to speak on the divide – shared the frustration of Tel Aviv youths.

“You done know she from the politics deh yah war ago increase, you can’t even sleep inna you bed,” said Blacks. “One time we use to walk go all a Tel Aviv and every man wuda hail u, but right now if you try dat you just a set up you own ‘nigh-night’.”

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