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In an effort to combat crime and violence in Cedar Grove, Manchester, members of the community, in collaboration with the Mandeville Ministers Fraternal and Northern Caribbean University (NCU), staged a stakeholders forum on April 16, at the Cedar Grove Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Residents identified several areas for intervention, which could result in the reduction of crime and violence and contribute to development of the Cedar Grove area.
These include the introduction of community policing and the establishment of a neighbourhood watch; dispute resolution; upgrading of basic amenities, such as street lights, roads and water; construction of a community centre, to be used to facilitate skills training to combat unemployment; and the introduction of an adult literacy programme.
President of the Cedar Grove Development Committee, Judith Forbes, said that the forum was a follow-up of the first, where the political representatives, the Social Development Commission (SDC), the police, NCU, the Parish Council and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce had participated and pledged their support for the initiative.
The Development Committee, which comprises the districts of Cedar Grove, Green Street and Rent Land was launched on May 23, 2008. Since its formation, the Committee has initiated and accomplished a number of projects, geared toward the development of the community.
The Committee was instrumental in assisting the Cedar Grove Basic School to acquire funding through the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), so that the institution could meet the Early Childhood Commission operational requirements for early childhood institutions; has collaborated with one of the Councillors for the division to prepare an area in the community for a playfield; and has worked alongside the community based organisation to stage a community clean-up and beautification programme.
Mrs. Forbes said that the SDC would be conducting a survey with a view to expanding the boundaries of the Cedar Grove Development Area, to include the neighbouring communities of Albion and Hillside.
“We are the only rural community that can boast that we have a university situated here, and so we have to ensure that we work together to develop our community, so that it will not only be a model community in Manchester, but in all of Jamaica,” she said.

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