JIS News

The Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture has reached out to students in western Jamaica, who have suffered trauma as a result of violence, with the staging of a peace concert and candlelight ceremony on January 27 at the St. John’s Methodist Church Hall in St. James.
Approximately 1,000 students from schools in Hanover, Westmoreland and St. James participated in the event, which was held under the theme: ‘Reclaiming and Nurturing a Peaceful Society’.
The students, accompanied by their teachers, guidance counsellors, parents and friends, were entertained by artistes Mackie Conscious and Abijah, who enunciated the message of peace and love.
According to coordinator of the concert, Lisetha Adams, who is the Guidance and Counselling Education Officer for Region 4, the concert was timely based on “the wave of violence that has been happening in the country, affecting a number of our children”.
“This peace concert seeks to target the guidance counsellors in the various schools for them to be aware and know the grieving students that have been traumatized by violence so that they are able to start the process of healing with them”, Mrs. Adams told JIS News.
“We are also hoping that this will motivate the guidance counsellors to start support groups and grief-counselling process in all schools … a lot of these children are grieving but we don’t know. We tend to bypass them and pay attention to the adults instead. We need peace, especially for our children, and I am calling on all Jamaicans to let us go back to basics, that of treating each other as a brother”, Mrs. Adams added.
Guest speaker at the event Superintendent of Police, Dr. Ivan Brown, said that citizens of the country were living in “an age of rage” as at the end of 2004, 1,469 murders were committed.
“The cycle of violence and abuse that runs throughout the society must be broken for us to start the process of reclaiming a peaceful society. In order to reclaim and nurture a peaceful society, we must all adopt the three M’s approach by mentoring, ministering and monitoring our children”, Dr. Brown stated.
He explained that the mentoring process involved persons motivating and encouraging children to build their self-esteem, so that they could achieve their true potential. He noted that mentoring was one of the most effective ways of providing practical and emotional help and support to at risk youngsters.
“Monitoring involves spending quality time with our children and supplying their basic needs. If we all start to minister to our children from early, the challenges of bringing them up in today’s world will be much easier”, Dr Brown stressed.
The concert was held in collaboration with the Pathways to Peace Committee and the Peace Task Force to commemorate the United Nations Decade of Peace for the Children of the World.