Residents of Hanna Town, Denham Town, Trench Town, Fletchers Land and Tivoli Gardens in West Kingston are lauding the efforts of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), in helping them to get past the recent violence, which has left many of them emotionally disturbed.
“I feel so good on a day like today, because I have gotten a chance to travel out of my community and experience a different environment here in Negril. It feels so good and I feel so free right now,” Denham Town resident, Samantha Hyde, told JIS News on Wednesday July 07.
Miss Hyde was among 220 West Kingston residents (150 children and 70 adults) who journeyed from their communities to the west of Jamaica for a two-day fun experience at the Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril, after overnighting at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort in Montego Bay.
This little girl from West Kingston takes a leap into the pool at the Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril on Wednesday July 7, when a group comprising 150 children and 70 adults from the community were hosted at the Park, after overnighting at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort, Montego Bay, on a two-day therapeutic trip, courtesy of the Ministry of National Security’s Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP).
The outing, organised by the CSJP and sponsored under a joint public and private sector partnership, is the latest in a series of therapeutic trips for residents of West Kingston.
President of the Denham Town Community Development Committee (CDC), Pauline Perez, told JIS News that she was grateful to the CSJP and its partners, for providing the opportunity to “break free” and move forward in the healing process.
“I went to places like Tapioca Village in St. Mary and Cranbrook Flower Forest in St. Ann, and these outings have been working for me because I lost my cousin in the happenings last month and I was so upset with the police and just about everybody but, after coming out and talking to psychiatrists and other persons, I realized that being upset does not help and these trips have helped me to de-stress a whole lot,” she explained.
Tivoli Gardens resident, Sashana Tomlinson, told JIS News that the programme was a start to many positive things in her community.
A lifeguard (standing in background) watches as a group of children from West Kingston enjoy the pool at Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril while, on a two-day therapeutic trip, courtesy of the Ministry of National Security’s Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), on Wednesday July 7.
“Due to the unrest in western Kingston, most persons (in Tivoli Gardens) were traumatised and were forced to spend days inside the community, so I think these trips have helped a lot, because persons are getting the opportunity to go out and see different places and just be in a different environment,” she said.
CSJP Community Action Officer, Marcia Flynn, confirmed that the therapeutic trips were doing a lot for the residents, as they were not limited to fun and games but also gave them an opportunity to access counseling.
“For this trip, we have taken a team of clinicians from the Ministry of Education’s Guidance and Counseling Unit, the Peace Management Initiative (PMI) and SISTREN Theatre Collective to provide counseling services and referrals for the groups,” Miss Flynn said.
She said that on Wednesday July 14, another set of residents from West Kingston would visit Kool Runnings Water Park.
Clinical Psychologist, Kamala McWhinney, told JIS News that persons have been responding positively to the counseling sessions and, for her, being a part of the rejuvenation programme has been very rewarding.
“What we try to do on these outings is to get a feel, on the spot, of where the residents are, in terms of their grieving and their levels of trauma and based on that we have informal, sometimes more structured sessions with them, to get them to start processing the grief or processing the trauma, so that we can hope for some positive resolution in the long term,” she said.
The Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association’s (JHTA) Negril Chapter was instrumental in making the therapeutic trip a reality.
When JIS spoke to the Chairperson for the JHTA Negril Chapter, Evelyn Smith, she said, they were thrilled to welcome the residents, particularly the children, and were looking forward to hosting the next group on Wednesday July 14.
She told JIS News that the JHTA was pleased to partner with the CSJP and play a part in the therapeutic process.
It was evident that the children were happy to be at Kool Runnings Water Park, as they splashed in the pools, enjoyed the water slides and floated down the Lazy River, time after time.
12-year-old Kashian Amos from Fletcher’s Land, told JIS News that he enjoyed the ride, as well as the water park.
“This is my first time coming to Negril and I feel very happy to be out here. I like the food, the pool, the slides and everything, and I would love to come here again,” he said.
Denham Town Primary School student, Shanice Robinson, thanked the CSJP and the JHTA Negril Chapter for a wonderful day.
CSJP, which is now in its second phase of funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), provides a wide range of services to volatile and vulnerable communities. These services include life skills, vocational training, parenting education, referrals, community infrastructural works and mentorship.