The Ministry of National Security continued its major thrust in creating a safer Jamaica with the launch of the Dispute Resolution and Violence Prevention Association chapter in Manchester on Thursday July 26, 2012 at the Northern Caribbean University (NCU). The Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for Central Manchester the Honourable, Peter Bunting, mandated a taskforce within the parish to remedy the scourge of domestic violence which has been a long standing problem within the society. The team, headed by former head of the Jamaica Council of Churches, Rev. Oliver Daley was mandated to reduce and eradicate the trend of domestic violence in Manchester through the use of appropriate models of intervention.
Research has indicated that domestic disputes, which result in serious crimes such as murder, in most cases start out as a mere disagreement between friends and families; These disputes often intensifies because of poor anger management. The Security Minister revealed frightening statistics which showed the urgent need for the launch of the association. “Statistics reveal that of all the divisions in Area 3 Police division, Manchester recorded the highest number if domestic violence cases in 2011, with 265 cases,” he posited.
National Security Minister and Member of Parliament for Central Manchester Hon. Peter Bunting (left) presents a certificate in Para-professional Counseling to Marques Carter at the recent launch of the Manchester chapter of the Dispute Resolution and Violence Prevention Association at NCU
The Member of Parliament for Central Manchester continued to say that, “the number of incidents in the other divisions also called for concern, as Clarendon and St. Elizabeth recorded 208 and 73 cases respectively.” The minister was quick to point out that there has been a general reduction in the monster of crime especially in the Area 3 Police division. “An assessment of the January to June 2012 against the same period in 2011 reveals a 37.75% reduction in domestic disputes in the Area 3 division. A further breakdown of the statistics shows that the parish of Manchester has seen a 43.8% reduction in these incidents.”
The realization of the vision of Mandeville becoming a ‘centre of Excellence’ is contingent upon the overall social, economic, and physical wellbeing of the constituents. But with the recent spate of attacks on medical practitioners in the parish the Security Minister was quick to allay the fears of members of the medical fraternity.
He lilted that, “recently our community has been rocked by the deaths of four noted medical practitioners and our intelligence does not reveal a target on that particular group of professionals. In all four cases, the evidence suggests that the deaths stemmed from unresolved personal or professional conflicts.”
The Manchester Dispute Resolution and Violence Prevention Association is conceptualized as a medium to address this pressing problem. Counselling and mediation have proven over the years to be effective ways of assisting persons to manage aggression and settle disputes amicably. Through this association the Security Ministry seek to consolidate the skills of professional and community members, who will undergo training to become first responders, capable of diffusing domestic disputes in their communities.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) in charge of Area 3, Derrick Cochrane, agreed with the Minister that, “disputes continue to be a concern for us in law enforcement, and are one of the major drivers for crime and violence. Domestic disputes sometimes begin as benign disagreement between friends or families which then escalate to murder and other serious crimes. This is because of poor anger management, and the lack of timely interventions.”
Cochrane encouraged community members who are experiencing domestic disputes to avail themselves of some third party intervention. This method presents another conduit and opportunity for police citizens’ collaboration with the Area 3 police can treat one of the main drivers behind the crimes committed in this area.
Bunting and his team also mandated the taskforce to develop a plan for the rehabilitation of the inmates at the lockups in Manchester. The Mandeville lock up was recently renovated to the sum of more than $14 million. The facility was tour by the Security Minister and his team. He lauded the improvement to the facility which he boasts could be compared to world class facilities.
Members of the taskforce includes: Chairman Rev. Oliver Daley, Custos of Manchester Sally Porteous, Mayor of Mandeville Brenda Ramsay, Mrs. Thelma Vassall, Pastor Michael Harvey, ACP Derrick Cochrane, Superintendent Lascelles Taylor, Dr. Owen Gordon, Dr. Grace Kelly, President of Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. Wendy Freckleton, Rev. David Roomes, and Special Assistant to the Minister of National Security Ms. Trishanna Archer.
Communities which will get the priority attention are Georges Valley, Cedar Grove, Coleyville, Top and Bottom Greenvale, Comfort and Royal Flat, Grey Ground and Heartease, and Albion. The initiative will be replicated throughout the entire country as the Minister of National Security endeavours to rid the country of the scourge of crime and violence hence making Jamaica a place to live, work, raise family and do business.