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Custos of St. James, Bishop Conrad H. Pitkin has called on the residents of Salt Spring, St. James to maintain the peace in the parish, even after the State of Public Emergency.

Speaking during the first in a series of Community Enrichment meetings, held at the Salt Spring Seventh Day Adventist Church on June 6, Custos Pitkin urged the residents to commit to maintaining the ‘sense of peace’ that now exists.

“Every one of you in this room, and every citizen in St. James must be willing to continue the maintenance of this peace that we are now experiencing, and to enhance it another step further ….so that we can indeed live in peace as citizens,” he said.

He noted that one key component in maintaining this, is by ensuring that young people are occupied with constructive activities.

In this regard, he said a summer programme will be rolled out to engage grade 11 students in the parishes of St. James, Hanover, and Westmoreland, which will facilitate access to skills training in housekeeping, bartending, welding, cosmetology and Information Technology.

“There is a group of students leaving school this year, [and] if we do not find a way to assist them, they are going to leave school with nothing to do because they are not equipped,” he explained.

The programme, which will span a five week period, is expected to prepare students for the work world. It will involve both a theoretical and practical component and will see all students being certified through the HEART Trust/NTA.

For his part, Director of Safety and Security in Schools, Assistant Superintendent of Police, Coleridge Minto, urged the adults to ensure that they care for the nation’s children by ensuring that they are in school or are engaged in a training programme.

“This part of the island actually has a higher number of dropout of students out of our institutions than in other regions. When the Zone of Special Operation started, we worked very closely with the Zone Commanders and within that small space, we were able to identify a number of school aged students that were out of school… [and] we were able to place a number of them back,” he outlined.

Mr. Minto also pledged his support to the efforts of the Custos, arguing that education is the only means by which “Jamaica can be rescued”.

Other stakeholders participating in the community meeting were, the Social Development Commission, Peace Management initiative, The Jamaica Defence Force and The Jamaica Constabulary force.