Manch­ester launches peace coali­tion

Jamaica Gleaner - - ENTERTAINMENT - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer ru­ral@glean­erjm.com

MANDEVILLE, Manch­ester: CRIME HAS been the cause of the eco­nomic down­turn and missed op­por­tu­ni­ties for decades. How­ever, stake­hold­ers in Manch­ester are mak­ing a con­certed ef­fort to rid the parish, and by ex­ten­sion the coun­try, of this mal­ady through the fur­ther im­ple­men­ta­tion of peace ini­tia­tives.

At an of­fi­cial launch of the ini­tia­tive on Tues­day, in­terim chair­man of the Manch­ester Peace Coali­tion, Dr Clifton Reid, ex­pressed: “We are here be­cause crime is a ma­jor con­cern for us ... so much of our eco­nomic fu­ture de­pends on tam­ing this crime mon­ster,” Reid told the gath­er­ing.

The coali­tion was formed after Brooks Park, which is lo­cated in the town, was de­clared a peace park ap­prox­i­mately three years ago.

He said the coali­tion pro­vides the per­fect ve­hi­cle for those who wish to be part of the so­lu­tion to crime.

Spe­cial men­tion was made of the Ja­maica Con­stab­u­lary Force and the huge role it has played and will con­tinue to play.

“We have se­lected 15 com­mu­ni­ties, we have de­signed a pro­gramme; we in­vite the po­lice to come with their sport­ing teams and we go into th­ese com­mu­ni­ties on a Sun­day af­ter­noon and we en­gage those teams in the com­mu­ni­ties,” said Reid.

Cor­po­ral Melvin Smith of the Manch­ester Safety and Se­cu­rity Branch pledged the po­lice’s full sup­port.

“... We are here with the same goal in mind, part­ner­ship is a joy to the hearts of those who want peace. The po­lice are on board in ev­ery way be­cause we know that se­cu­rity forces com­bined can­not solve this crime prob­lem.”

Reid posited that com­pe­ti­tions in com­mu­ni­ties, through the per­form­ing arts, with a struc­tured fo­rum and one-on-one ses­sions should be con­ducted.

“The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, along with our train­ing team, is putting to­gether this plan for home­work cen­tres. There are many skilled per­sons and so we are get­ting HEART Trust on board to get the cer­ti­fied and im­prove their chances of get­ting a job,” Reid said.

The coali­tion has ap­prox­i­mately 30 mem­bers who have of­fered a num­ber of ser­vices to the body.

Th­ese in­clude, but are not lim­ited to, rov­ing health care clinic, rov­ing ca­reers con­sul­tancy clinic and mo­bile le­gal as­sis­tance clinic.

It was at this junc­ture that Reid made a call for per­sons to join and invest in this ini­tia­tive.

Pres­i­dent of the In­ter­na­tional In­sti­tute of Peace, Diana McIn­tyre Pike, urged in­di­vid­u­als to re­alise that a change will only come once mind­sets are changed.

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