MANDEVILLE — Scores of Canaan Heights residents, in Clarendon, turned out on May 15 for the Ministry of National Security sponsored Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) peace-vibes concert and information village, held at the community centre.
The five-hour concert saw several local performers doing pieces that depict peace and unity. There were also appearances by area dancers; veteran reggae singer, George Nooks and newcomer, Romaine Virgo.
“The artistes were screened and we informed them that the lyrics must promote peace and respect and it had to be clean lyrics,” Co-ordinator of the CSJP, Central Region, Tedisha Murray, told JIS News.
Miss Murray is the lead person in a two-year intervention programme for Canaan Heights.
The day’s activities also included a health clinic organised and manned by the Seventh Day Adventist Church, where residents received free medical checks and referrals. Support was provided by some 90 community volunteers, and staff of the Social Development Commission (SDC). Representatives of the Child Development Agency (CDA) provided information on the work of the agency, while the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) had sessions with the residents.
Acting Public Relations Manager for the SDC, Afrika Thompson, informed that they had trained a number persons from the Community Development Council (CDC), as part of the SDC’s strategic focus is community safety and security.
“Over the years we have built a good relationship with the CDC, and out of those training sessions we have done workshops on safety and security, and this has assisted in the transformation of the community,” she said.
Meanwhile, third year student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), and a resident of Canaan Heights, Melbourine McPherson, who is working with the community organisation to maintain the change that the area has experienced, told JIS News that Canaan Heights is not what it has been stereotyped to be. “We have moved away from that phase in our lives. I won’t deny that we had crime and violence once, but it is something that we have gradually moved away from, and we are making progress,” she added.
Another peace-vibes concert will be held at the Effortville community centre, in Clarendon, on May 23.
The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security. The programme provides crime and violence prevention services to 39 vulnerable communities, spanning eight parishes.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS REGIONAL OFFICE