Residents of Trench Town and Tivoli Gardens in Kingston are to benefit from the use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practices in resolving conflicts, which is expected to foster peace among citizens in the areas.
This will be achieved through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which was signed on April 26 between the Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF) and representatives of the Trench Town Development Association and the Tivoli Gardens Community Development Committee Benevolent Society, during a ceremony at the Tivoli Gardens High School.
The agreement seeks to provide a framework of co-operation between the DRF and the community based organisations (CBOs) with the specific objective of promoting ADR approaches in the settlement of disputes in the home, and at the community level.
In welcoming the MoU, Mayor of Kingston, Senator Angela Brown Burke, said the use of ADR will assist in “breaking down” barriers in the various communities and result in persons working in unison for the betterment of their areas and the country as a whole.
“I am excited that Tivoli and Trench Town could be signing an MOU in Tivoli to say ‘we want justice’ and determining the conditions under which, as communities, you are going to relate with each other,” she said.
She noted however that “is not the signing of the MoU that will make the difference, it is individuals with values and principles such as mutual respect, honesty, and trust that are going to make the difference."
The MoU falls under the European Union (EU)/ DRF ‘We Want Justice’ project, which aims to strengthen the capacity of public and private stakeholders, communities and civil society groups in Jamaica, to put structures in place for improved justice administration, and the promotion of rights and democratic governance through alternative dispute resolution options.
Project Manager, Vivienne DaCosta, said that through the programme, the communities will benefit from higher levels of personal and community safety, and will practise alternative measures of resolving conflicts.
Under the agreement, the DRF commits to provide technical assistance and training, public education and promotional materials, while the CBOs pledge to participate in DRF training activities, promote the use of ADR in the community, and establish and maintain collaborative problem-solving partnerships for safer communities.
By Chris Patterson, JIS Reporter