JIS News

Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, has lauded the work of the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) in providing an effective social mechanism in sections of society.
Addressing the PMI’s 7th anniversary luncheon held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel yesterday (Jan. 30), the Minister noted that since its inception, the PMI has played a “pivotal role in easing tension in some of our more volatile communities.”
He said that the PMI, which functions as a meditative agent, in strife-torn communities, particularly in times of great crisis, is of critical importance to the Ministry of National Security.
“The Ministry can attest to the fact that the efforts of the Peace Management Initiative have been invaluable, not only to the Ministry, but to the country,” he said.
Senator MacMillan noted further that contrary to what many may think, the work of the PMI is “not a walk in park. The complexities and peculiarities of communities have seen to that.”
He pointed out that the PMI has had to address difficult issues such as “the politically coloured culture of some of our communities”, noting too that the PMI has also tackled issues of corruption; the judicial system; and the influence of organised criminal networks in communities, among other things.
Senator MacMillan thanked the PMI for its work, encouraging the body “to keep up the fight against disputes and conflicts in society.”
“To the various agencies, community leaders, support groups, and volunteers who work with the PMI, I want to on the behalf of the Government, the people of Jamaica, and the Ministry, to thank you for the tireless work you have been doing in assisting the peace process in communities island-wide,” the Security Minister said.
He also commended the previous administration, for its insight in embarking on this initiative.
Political Ombudsman and PMI Chairman, Bishop Herro Blair, in his remarks, noted that for 2009, the country has to “focus on rebuilding strong communities, on the base of the culture of peace, which the PMI engendered.”
He pointed out that the work of the Initiative now encompasses interventions across the Kingston Metropolitan Area and St. Catherine, and has broadened its scope to include rural communities.
“In this light, we have given strong support to the crime committees, set up by the Ministry of National Security across the island and other organisations like the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), which tries to focus not only on gun violence but other types of social problems which lead to people hurting each other,” Bishop Blair said.
He noted further that for 2009, the PMI “will consolidate on many new initiatives we supported last year,” pointing to the signing of peace agreements in Waterhouse and in August Town, which he said were significant achievements that have never been seen before.
He also pointed to the establishment of the Arnett Gardens Peace Council, the Mountain View Peace Council and the many other initiatives of the PMI, which have developed certain communities into “vibrant peace hubs.”
The PMI was established in 2002 in the Ministry of National Security, with the objective of setting up an early warning and intervention mechanism to detect and mange any potential explosive, criminal or violent situation in a community.