JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister Bunting has lauded community members who have been supporting the Football Corner League.
  • This peace building initiative targets communities that are severely affected by crime and violence, and forms part of the strategies of the Unite for Change campaign.
  • The League is currently underway in several communities across the island.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, has lauded community members who have been supporting the Football Corner League, spearheaded by the Peace Management Initiative and Violence Prevention Alliance Units in the Ministry.

This peace building initiative targets communities that are severely affected by crime and violence, and forms part of the strategies of the Unite for Change campaign, which was launched late last year by Minister Bunting and his team.

The League is currently underway in several communities across the island and is endorsed by the Umbrella Group of Churches and the Community Safety and Security branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“I attended four matches in four different communities on New Year’s Day, and it was great to see young men out in their numbers. In most cases the matches were well supported by members of the community. Persons were very positive, requesting more of these peace building initiatives,” Mr. Bunting told JIS News.

The Minister said he noticed that in all the communities, there were at least two or three volunteers who were on the ground working on the logistics.

“They are also dedicated to our combined efforts against the culture of violence and gangs. I was encouraged and inspired, having met a cross section of these persons,” the Minister added.

Chairperson for the Violence Prevention Association, Dr. Elizabeth Ward, told JIS News that the peace building initiative, which began at the end of last year, also include activities such as cookouts, outdoor church services, rap sessions, performances by community members, games for children and increased community policing.

“Through these events, we are communicating to community members that there are peaceful activities that they can do together. We want to give them something useful to do and to have them share with persons they do not usually get along with. Sports is the best medium to get persons to work in teams and to build camaraderie,” Dr. Ward said.

She pointed out that community members in Tawes Meadows, St. Catherine, have requested that HIV testing and church services be added to their list of activities.

“Peace brings prosperity. We encourage all communities throughout Jamaica to let us work together with goodwill for a prosperous Jamaica. It is time for peace now. We are using the holiday period to host these activities, as most communities do not have the opportunity to go out on the streets and enjoy themselves. We know many residents are at home during the holiday, so we use the opportunity to reach out to them in this manner,” Dr. Ward explained.

Communities involved in the initiative include: Norwood, Rose Heights, Granville, North Gully, Retirement, Canterbury and Mount Salem in St. James; York Town in Clarendon;   Rockfort, Fletchers Land, Spoilers/Tex Lane, Hannah Town, Denham Town, August Town/Tavern, Swallowfield, Whitfield Town, Seaview and Majestic Gardens in Kingston; Tredegar Park, Tawes Meadows, Lakes Pen and Central Village in St. Catherine; and Alma and Seaton Crescent in Westmoreland.

On January 4 the Football Corner League continues in Seaview Gardens, Hannah Town, Alma and  Seaton Crescent. On the following day there will be three matches at Majesty Gardens, August Town and Central Village.

There will be two matches in York Town and Tredegar Park on January 11 and 12, respectively, while on January 17 there will be a match in Lakes Pen. All matches begin at midday.

On January 8 there will be all day prayer services in Spanish Town and Montego Bay.

The peace building initiative is funded by the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).