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Call made for integrated approach to peace building in Trench Town

Monday, July 29, 2019

CHAIRMAN of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) Dr Elizabeth Ward is appealing for a more integrated bipartisan approach to peace building in Trench Town.

Dr Ward, who made the observation while addressing a Justice and Peace Building Workshop in the community recently, said there was too much fragmentation in addressing peace initiatives in the community.

The workshop was conducted by the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), in collaboration with the VPA.

“One of the things that clearly need to happen at the local level is the formation of a bipartisan rule of law committee. People have to work together in a bi-partisan way,” she stated.

Concurring with Dr Ward, Trevor Spence, chief executive officer of the Boys' Town Community Intervention Programme, said that Trench Town had several non-governmental organisations working on peace intervention programmes in the community but each was operating in silos instead of collaboratively.

“We tend to be more competitive than complementary and we are fighting for the same resources rather than attempting to work together,” he lamented.

Spence suggested that there should be one concept with everyone working as a team. He said what obtained now was like “eleven batsmen coming to the same wicket to bat at the same time”.

He added: “The encouragement is that this is an important stakeholders meeting to attempt to do planning in a non-fragmented way.”

Meanwhile, Horace Levy, former deputy chairman of the PMI and civil society advocate, in his welcome address, said that the workshop was a sharing exercise where stakeholders would be made aware of the activities of each other. This, he explained, could facilitate better collaboration for peace building efforts to be more effective.

The objective of the workshop was to focus on team action to build justice and peace in Trench Town. The areas covered in the workshop were: sharing what has worked and what has not and why; tackling the root causes of violence; and examining the crime data of Trench Town.

Among the organisations that participated in the workshop were: members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force; HEART Trust/NTA, which shared information on training opportunities being conducted by the organisation in the community; Culture Yard, which informed on initiatives tapping into the cultural heritage of the community; Fathers United for Change; the Rose Town Foundation; Youth with a Vision; and community development committees.

Other participants were representatives of the Social Development Commission, Jamaica Social Investment Fund, Mark Golding, Member of Parliament for St Andrew Southern, and members of the community.

The workshop was funded by the Department for International Development.