Scores Gather in Mandela Park for Peace Day Concert

Photo: Mark Bell National Safe Schools and Training Coordinator, Sergeant Tanecia Johnson (right), gets a high-five from student at St. Francis Primary and Infant School, Amanda Smith (left), during Tuesday’s (March 7) fourth staging of the National Safe Schools’ Peace Day Concert at Mandela Park in St. Andrew. Other students (from second left) are Kanish Creary and Gabrielle Bailey.

Story Highlights

  • Messages of peace and unity, delivered through music and inspirational speeches, permeated the grounds of Mandela Park in St. Andrew on March 7, at the fourth staging of National Safe Schools’ Peace Day concert.
  • It involved collaboration with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III, Peace and Love in Society (PALS), and Females United Club.
  • In her remarks, Communications and Social Marketing Coordinator at the CSJP, Patrice Tomlinson-Nephew, agreed that partnerships are paramount in building a “safer Jamaica”.

Messages of peace and unity, delivered through music and inspirational speeches, permeated the grounds of Mandela Park in St. Andrew on March 7, at the fourth staging of National Safe Schools’ Peace Day concert.

Scores of persons, including students, gathered at the park for the high-energy concert organised by the Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) under the theme ‘Simmer Down! Let’s Talk it Out.’.

It involved collaboration with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) III, Peace and Love in Society (PALS), and Females United Club.

The event featured performances by Haile Selassie High School, Jessie Ripoll Primary, St. Francis Primary and Infant School, Pembroke Hall High School, the Donald Quarrie High School, several upcoming artistes, and members of the JCF.

Minister of State for National Security, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Jr., reminded the audience that children are among the most important assets of the country and must be protected.

“You are the potential of our country to solve every problem… . Every step starts with you knowing how important you are,” he said.

He lauded the Community Safety and Security Branch of the JCF for its focus on building relations with citizens in order to reduce crime and make communities and Jamaica safer.

“What you and your members do impacts more than just any security issue. You build confidence in our students, you reaffirm trust in our communities, and that is what I define as nation building,” he noted.

Director of Safety and Security, Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Coleridge Minto, noted that while there has been a reduction in violence among students, “we continue to grapple with incidents across the island dealing with our students at they travel to and from school”.

He said the strengthening of partnerships will result in reduction in violence not just in schools but also in our public spaces.

In her remarks, Communications and Social Marketing Coordinator at the CSJP, Patrice Tomlinson-Nephew, agreed that partnerships are paramount in building a “safer Jamaica”.

She noted that the CSJP, which is a crime-prevention programme, will continue to partner with critical stakeholders to undertake activities that foster unity within communities.

“I want to encourage all our young people to continue on the positive path that you are on, because it’s better to have peace than war (and) it is better to have life over death any time,” she said.

For her part, General Manager of PALS, Janilee Abrikian, encouraged persons to “drop the anger and be forgiving”.

“We are going to get angry. All the emotions (that) we have, God gave us those emotions… but anger is the one that can get us into trouble. So we encourage you, those of us who are sad, those of us who are grieving; that can get us very angry, so we need to simmer down and drop the anger,” she said.

National Safe Schools and Training Coordinator, Sergeant Tanecia Johnson, challenged those in attendance to be resolute against violence.

This year’s Peace Day concert was held in memory of slain Calabar High School student, Stephan McClaren, and other students who lost their lives violently. Stephan’s parents were present at the event.

The annual event is geared towards promoting peace and unity in schools and across the nation.

JIS Social