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The annual Peace Month campaign was officially launched today (Feb. 7) at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston under the theme ‘Peace for Prosperity’.The campaign, which is being organized by the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) will run from February 6 to March 4.
Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, in his remarks at the launch, commended the VPA for its proactive efforts to foster peace and prosperity. He noted that “prosperity for all can never exist in an environment of violence” and for many communities peace is often an elusive goal.
Noting that “the work of the VPA is really a repudiation of anti-social behaviour and crime and violence in all its forms,” Senator Williams said that “by its actions, the Alliance emphasizes that crime must never be acceptable and that everybody in this country should take a stand to stomp out (crime and violence) whenever and wherever it rears its head.”
“The Ministry of National Security endorses wholeheartedly, the work being done by the Alliance to rid this country of violence and so to enhance the prospect for prosperity and to improve the quality of life of the citizens,” Senator Nelson stated, noting that violence costs the country millions of dollars, which could be spent on education, the elderly and the indigent.
He further called for VPA projects and events, such as the Learning for Life Programme and Peace Day initiatives, to be replicated in communities across the island. “Our sincere hope is that the spirit of the Alliance’s Peace Month Campaign’s will last and will spread to every community in Jamaica,” he said.
Meanwhile, Co-chair for the VPA, Professor Barry Chevannes, has called for a national movement to arrest crime and violence.
“The only way we can arrest the deteriorating standard of aggression and violence that causes so much pain to all of us in this country is not by more police men and women, it is really by all of us coming together into a movement for peace, that is stronger than the movement against peace, violence and the perpetuation of conflicts,” he argued.
Endorsements for the annual campaign also came from representatives of the National Health Fund, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Peace Management Initiative, Citizenship Education Programme and PALS Jamaica.
Sponsors and partners of the Peace Month Campaign include the Ministry of Health through the Healthy Lifestyle Project; Jamaica National Building Society; Cable and Wireless Jamaica Foundation; UNICEF; SuperPlus Food Stores; Wisynco; and Jamaica Money Market Brokers.