JIS News

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Dispute Resolution Foundation, Donna Parchment, is appealing for funds to establish at least 30 peace and justice centres islandwide.
“I call on the international donor community, public sector, private sector and well thinking individuals who believe that it is the partnership among civil society, the private sector, the public sector and citizens that builds a strong, safe country to support our work,” Miss Parchment told JIS News in an interview.
“We look as if we are doing very well because we are busy working on a shoe string budget, but more money would greatly enhance our service delivery,” she added. According to Miss Parchment, the Peace and Justice Centres, for the most part, would replace the community centres that once existed for home economics and sports.
“What we are trying to do with the Peace and Justice Centres is to train volunteers who will manage the centres, and seek funding to support on-going activities,” she explained. “The justice centres, restorative justice, regular conferences and training.these provide the framework or the foundation for delivery of the key services. Peace and justice centres are local activities in communities which build pride and competence in communities to resolve their conflicts,” Miss Parchment said.
Miss Parchment said the Foundation was looking to the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Justice, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and other partners to come on board and give sustained funding for the work of the centres.
She argued that the development of the peace and justice centres would provide focal points for dispute resolution and other community services to be offered in an organized way, in a facility that was locally owned and managed, but part of a larger network.
Paul Hines, Co-ordinator of the parish network at the Foundation told JIS News that there are currently four peace and justice centres islandwide. These are located in Spanish Town, St. Catherine; Flankers, St. James and Trench Town and the Foundation in Kingston. He also noted that there are 8 mediation centres islandwide.
However, Miss Parchment emphasized that all the parishes are covered. “In every parish we have established a peace and justice centre or a mediation centre or a service point, so the level of development of each one is different,” she said.
Gary Warren, Youth Peace Facilitator at the Spanish Town peace and justice centre, told JIS News that activities have been going extremely well and people in communities, such as March Pen Road, Dempshire Pen, Jones Avenue and Central Village, have been sensitized about conflict resolution and mediation training. Some partners which have assisted with the development and maintenance of the centres islandwide include Cable and Wireless, Praise City International, Island Communications, City of Kingston Credit Union, Palisadoes Credit Union and Jamaica National.

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