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Mandeville Peace Coalition Launch Sparks Community Action

Mandeville Peace Coalition Launch Sparks Community Action

​Mandeville, Manchester, October 6, 2016. Manchester Peace Coalition (MPCo) led by its Interim President, Dr Clifton Reid, is a force to be reckoned with in a Jamaica racked by escalating crime in urban centres. In fact, the Coalition's mission as peacemakers makes them a positive force to help transform the parish of Manchester through collaborative initiatives aimed at "creating healthy and safe environs, preservation of heritage, poverty reduction and human resource development, making Jamaica the most desired place to live, work, do business and raise families." Diana McIntyre-Pike, President of the International Institute for Peace through Tourism (IIPT) Caribbean Chapter endorsed MPCo and commended the Coalition "as a model for peace in Jamaica and the Caribbean region and endorses the vision that Manchester is a place for peaceful and holistic living."

The official Coalition Launch & Media Breakfast held September 20, 2016 at the Mandeville Hotel, brought into public view the Coalition's mission in action, coupled with private-public sector partners: government representatives, law enforcement, Ministers of Religion, community leaders and other stakeholders. Keynote speaker Rev. Glen Samuels, President, West Jamaica Conference of Seventh Day Adventists and Board Member St. James Peace Initiative, left the audience spellbound when he related how he was guided in his ministry to forgive a gunman who held him up at gunpoint. Rev. Samuels lived to tell the story. His courage set him on a course to transform the gunman's life. Dr Michael Coombs, Founder and Chair, National Association for the Family examined the statistics that identifies young males and an endangered species and called for "peace and love in our homes and a greater involvement of our fathers, in our communities and nation. "

The Launch underpinned a series of events that MPCo rolled out from September 18 with its Peace Church Service, followed by the Official UNWTO Peace Day & Ceremony held
Sept 21, 2016 in Brooks Park. Key among its guests were Mikael Philips, MP; Greenvale community members, a significant number of whom had also participated in the Greenvale Peace March earlier that afternoon. The highlight of the day saw two opposing gangs join together for the Greenvale Peace March, a major achievement for the Peace Coalition. Phillips awarded the Greenvale community $100,000.00 for community development and an additional $50,000.00 was awarded for sporting equipment.

Both programmes were chaired by Vivian Morris-Brown, JCDC Parish Manager (Manchester). She skillfully used gospel music in both sets to positively charge the atmosphere with the music of the talented JCDC Gospel Song Finalist Winners Vitalyte who sang the award-winning song "Banking on Jesus". Her Worship the Mayor, Councillor Brenda Ramsay, brought greetings and was recognized for registering Mandeville as the first IIPT/ Skal Peace Park in the Caribbean. Diana McIntyre-Pike, read a special message from Lou D'Amore, President, International Peace through Tourism (IIPT) who said: "I express my heartiest congratulations to Dr Clifton Reid for his commitment to creating the Manchester Peace Coalition with a dynamic team to promote the mission of peace in Manchester and its environs."

The evening turned from special to extra-ordinary when Ricardo McCalpin, Keynote speaker recounted his amazing story of transformation with vignettes from his life. He grew up in August Town where two communities were locked in a war of gang violence. Seeing the negative impact on his life and others, he was moved to pledge: "I want to be the peace ambassador for the community; change the way we operate by using a different approach. I stood up for peace." This was a turning a point for McCalpin who is now a Community Safety & Security Officer with the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the founder of Fight Crime with Rhymes Foundation.He employs music to promote peace and positivity and trains the youth in writing songs, playing instruments, and using poetry & dramatic arts for self-expression and positive solutions.

He concluded his presentation with an acapella song captioned "Wowski Psalm 99," which is receiving good rotation locally and internationally. The song roused the audience and created a charged atmosphere of positivity and inspiration. A Greenvale youth representative called on McCalpin to address the community when the MP would return to address some burning issues. The invitation was accepted without hesitation. Just before concluding the programme a passionate Sharon Parris-Chambers, founder of the One Love Call to Action & Pledge took the stage to affirm the Peace Pledge and to acknowledge the new One Love Peace Ambassadors.

The week-long series of events culminated in a Free Gospel Peace Concert at Brooks Park on September 24th. For membership and community development, contact the Coalition at (876) 383-1152. You can Like the page at www.facebook.com/manchesterpeacecoalition.

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