JIS News

Jamaicans have been challenged to find more peaceful ways to settle their differences, than through the use of violence, by Resident Magistrate for St. Elizabeth, Marlene Malahoo-Forte.
She was speaking recently at a Public Forum organised by the Dispute Resolution Foundation, which was held at the Black River New Testament Church of God.
“There is a breakdown in the family units, as oftentimes you have no father figure and sometimes even the mothers are absent.you have children playing the role of parents. We are also plagued by this get rich quick mentality and nobody wants to work, so many resort to drug trafficking and in the midst of this we have, I would dare say, 90 per cent of the violence,” Mrs. Malahoo-Forte noted.
The Resident Magistrate said that in such a situation, it was quite easy for the wider population to despair and to become uncaring.
“It is so easy for us after a while to become quite tolerant to what we hear and we may even start to rationalise the problem by saying it is bad, it could be worse.I warn you, we cannot allow ourselves to become immune as a nation to crime and violence,” the Resident Magistrate said.
Mrs. Malahoo-Forte said that an organisation such as the Dispute Resolution Foundation was a good example that showed a solution to the problem of conflict in the society.
“In everyday life and in every relationship you are going to find somebody who disagrees with you and somebody with whom you disagree.I believe that the time has come to take a look at ourselves and ask the question, what can we do to make a difference in terms of helping to rebuild our country, as the police and the Foundation alone cannot do the job that is required,” she said.
Mrs. Malahoo-Forte encouraged members of the audience to play their part by reporting any suspicious activity or crime, which they may observe, to the members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
“Unless you are prepared to come forward and give your evidence when a crime is committed, proper investigation cannot take place. In the courts, the Judge alone cannot deal with the problem because the role of the judge is specific and it depends on the attendance of witnesses and the police,” she said.
In recognition of the work of the Foundation, in January of this year the Governor General, Sir Howard Cooke has proclaimed 2004 as the year of Dispute Resolution.

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