Cook shop facilitates ‘faster food’ service in crime-torn Denham Town
Ardain Morris uses his pulley system to give customers food and collect payments.
Ardain Morris, a cook shop operator and chef in crime-torn Denham Town, is determined not to let the violence that has been plaguing the community dampen his will to survive and provide for his family.
While many businesses in the West Kingston-based community have been forced to close their doors because of the raging battle between criminal gangs, Morris has come up with an innovative way to keep his business afloat and to reach out to his customers who many times are afraid to come out to purchase a meal.
“From the war start, my customers complaining that they are afraid to venture into the scheme where I live to come and buy food,” Morris told Loop Jamaica during a visit by our news team to the recently declared Zone of Special Operation (ZOSO).
Morris said the situation has been made worse because he operates his cook shop from his home that is located on the third floor of a four-storey building, where the already-timid customers are even more afraid to travel to in fear of being targeted by gunmen while walking the lonely hallways with no place to escape.
To address the problem, Morris created a pulley system to send his lunches down to customers on the ground floor.
“I place the food on a tray and then send it down by rope,” said Morris, who collects payments for the lunches through the same system.
The chef said, by doing this, he has managed to significantly cut travel time for his customers while alleviating security concerns.
In addition to that, the chef said he has introduced special prices to accommodate persons who were unable to afford higher priced lunches.
“Right now as a business person I have to try and adjust the prices for customers who themselves are finding it rough so I have lunches from as low as $100 - these we call specials,” Morris said.
He explained that he is also working on other ways to promote the product.
Denham Town was declared a ZOSO last week. It is the second ZOSO under the Law Reform Act passed earlier this year.
Police Commissioner George Quallo, at a press conference to make the announcement at Jamaica House on Tuesday, said there are 12 gangs in the area that are "involved in numerous murders and shootings".
"The violence producers are generally gangs and gang members who dominate communities, through armed robberies and contract killings," Quallo said.
He noted that, in 2014, there were nine incidents of murders and 10 victims; in 2015, nine incidents and nine victims; 12 incidents in 2016 resulting in 12 victims; and so far, this year, 17 incidents and 17 victims.
Loop News will keep you ‘In the Zone’ throughout the ZOSO in Denham Town.