For hundreds of Jamaicans, getting a house in the Greater Portmore housing scheme in St Catherine more than 20 years ago was a dream come true.
But now that dream is becoming a nightmare as heavy commercialisation and crime spoil what seemed the ideal dormitory community metres from Kingston.
"For one, unemployment among the youths in Greater Portmore is very high right now. Almost every community that you go into, you will see young guys on the corners not working. They don't have anything to do," explained Heather Wallen-Bryan, former chairperson of the Greater Portmore Joint Citizens Association, which represents some 20 communities in the area.
Wallen-Bryan, a resident of Gortuca in Greater Portmore and president of the Braeton Phases Four and Five Citizens Association, says this high unemployment level can be blamed for almost all the major problems in Greater Portmore.
She said this is compounded by the migration of criminal elements into Greater Portmore from nearby Spanish Town, the main stomping ground for the infamous klansman and one order gangs.
"We have a lot of car break-ins, house break-ins, and recently we have been experiencing car theft. The thieves come to people's homes and take away the cars right from their yard gates. In the past month, about three to four cars we have lost like that," added Wallen-Bryan as she linked the high number of unemployed persons in the community to heavy commercialisation of the residential area.
"A lot of people have lost their jobs, and because of this, what they do is turn a room into a shop. I wouldn't say it (commercialisation) is a major problem in all communities, but it is becoming increasingly a concern to us," said Wallen-Bryan.