JIS News

Residents of Tredegar Park, St. Catherine, who have been traumatised by last week’s attack on the community, were provided with counselling and therapy sessions at the Tredegar Park Seventh-Day Adventist Church Thursday (August 19).

Senior Social Worker with the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), Berthlyn Plummer, speaking with JIS News about the social intervention that took place in Tredegar Park, St. Catherine on Thursday (August 19). The PMI in conjunction with other agencies and representatives of Ministries and departments, conducted assessments and provided psychological and welfare support for residents affected by last week’s attack on the community by gunmen.

Senior Social Worker with the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), Berthlyn Plummer, told JIS News that this social intervention, which was multi-faceted, also entailed mediation and conflict resolution sessions.
The community is currently undergoing a healing process following the August 13 attack by gunmen which left eight persons dead, including an 11-year-old.
She said that the exercise went very well, noting that sessions were conducted with family members of victims, and general community members who are grieving.
“At this time, when they are going through all the stress and the trauma, different things are happening. You have direct victims, family members, extended family members and general community members who are in pain, so (the) exercise (was) to start a process to give them the support they need; emotional and other support,” Mrs. Plummer said.
The intervention coincided with Education Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness’ visit to the community, and followed that of the Minister with responsibility for Information, Telecommunications and Special Projects, Hon. Daryl Vaz, and National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson, on Wednesday (August 18).

National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson (right), listens to the concerns of residents of Tredegar Park, St. Catherine, impacted by the August 13 attack on the community by gunmen during his tour of the community on August 18.

The undertaking was co-ordinated by Mr. Vaz’s office and involved representatives of Ministries, departments and agencies, including: the Ministries of Labour and Social Security, Education, Health, and Water and Housing, as well as the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) and the Victim Support Unit (VSU), who carried out assessments and provided psychological and welfare support for affected residents.
The Social Development Commission (SDC), Food for the Poor, Dispute Resolution Foundation (DRF), a representative from the Public Defender’s Office, Restorative Justice practitioners and mediators also took part.
“We have a well-rounded team to help with whatever support people need; emotional or otherwise,” she said.
The social worker noted that the intervention was not a ‘one off’ undertaking, but that the team intended to conduct other sessions, adding that work will be continuing in the area, including Gravel Heights.

Minister of Education, Hon. Andrew Holness, (left) interacts with children from Tredegar Park All-Age School, during a tour of sections of the St. Catherine community Thursday (August 19).

Mrs. Plummer said the community members were very receptive of the intervention noting that, for its part, the PMI has been working in the community since late December 2007 and this was a continuation of that work.
She encouraged persons in need of counselling to contact the PMI at 929-0671 or 754-5622.
“They can call us. We are available at all times. We have mediators and counsellors,” she said.
Political Ombudsman, and Chairman of the PMI, Bishop Herro Blair, addressed some of the residents, encouraging them not to lose hope.
“You cannot give up at this time. We just have to find a way out; we have to find solutions. We cannot be contributors to the problems that exist in our communities… and we may have to be the persons who will contribute to the solutions that we need,” he said.
The PMI was established in 2002, under the Ministry of National Security, with the objective of setting up an early warning and intervention mechanism to detect and mange potentially explosive criminal or violent situations in communities.

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