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Manchester launches peace coalition

Published:Wednesday | September 21, 2016 | 12:00 AMGleaner Writer

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.