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JIS News

The introduction of an additional 49 dispute resolution mediators in the volatile city of Spanish Town, St. Catherine could gradually see a reduction in the statistics of crime and violence in the old capital.
The mediators completed their training and received certificates of participation at a graduation ceremony on Thursday (December 8) held at Arian’s Restaurant in Twickenham Park, Spanish Town. This follows a gruelling six-day mediation workshop funded by the Canadian Gender Fund. The programme cost some $2.2 million and involved persons 18-35 years old. They received training in conflict management, conflict resolution skills, rapport building, self-esteem building, motivation and anger management.
Speaking with JIS News, Executive Director of the Dispute Resolution Foundation, Donna Parchment informed that the participants were drawn primarily from Spanish Town and included policemen from the Spanish Town Police Station.
“Many of the participants are from communities within the capital rocked by increasing challenges including incidence of crime and violence, fear of crime and general security and confidence,” she said.
Miss Parchment noted that based on the experiences gained from mediation activities in the community of Flankers, Montego Bay and Trench Town in Kingston, there was hope that this batch of mediators would feed into a larger programme in the parish, leading to the opening of a Peace and Justice Centre in Spanish Town.
“We’re hoping to utilize the skills of these newly trained mediators in enhancing outreach activities in their various communities and using them on a panel of mediators to help resolve conflict in the communities and possibly some in the courts, creating the first civil centre for resolution,” she said.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley gave his support to the graduates, support which Miss Parchment noted was welcomed, and was a signal of appreciation of the work of mediators.
“Spanish Town is not isolated from the parish of St. Catherine,” she pointed out adding, “and it is important for everyone to recognize that good work done in Spanish Town requires the support of the citizens of the town, the parish and indeed the country”.
“We at the Dispute Resolution Foundation, all we want to do is be a part of the outreach,” she emphasised. Miss Parchment added, “others like the Spanish Town Crime Committee led by Monsignor Richard Albert, the Spanish Town Peace and Justice Centre led by Miss Sharon Palmer, the police, civic and religious leaders, all make a valuable contribution to solving social disputes in Spanish Town”.