Mandeville, Jamaica (December 19, 2018). Manchester Peace Coalition (MPCo), a coalition of companies that coalesce around the values of peaceful co-existence in communities within the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, has emerged as an important lynchpin in the peace movement in Jamaica today. MPCo is chaired by Dr Clifton Reid.
It is no surprise therefore, that MPCo was amongst delegates in attendance from across the island at the recently held International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) International Community Tourism Conference themed: Building Communities as Businesses staged at the Mona Visitor’s Lodge, UWI, Mona, Jamaica, November 12-15, 2018. The four-day event commemorated the ‘International Year of Community Tourism & Peace,’ in collaboration with Countrystyle Villages as Businesses, representing 40 years of Community Tourism.
During the International Community Tourism Conference Dr Louis D’Amore, Founder & President of IIPT was very impressed with the presentation and work of MPCo and envisioned it as a model for the world through the IIPT. Dr D’Amore said “MPCo should spread its peace movement across the island.” Over the years, IIPT has continued to dedicate peace parks as a legacy at international conferences.
Among the programs initiated this year, MPCo commissioned Dr Herbert Gayle, a well-known social anthropologist, to do a research assessment of at-risk communities in the parish. The results will help the Manchester Municipal Corporation in their strategic planning and intervention strategies for the parish. The study was funded by Canada Fund for Local Initiatives.
Ms. Laurie Peters, Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica who attended the Manchester Municipal Corporation to witness Gayle’s report, earlier this year, said “it's projects such as this with the Manchester Peace Coalition (that) I think really do have the most impact.”
In his report to the IIPT International Community Tourism delegates, Dr. Reid noted a total of 18 communities with which MPCo is forming long lasting relationships in collaboration with Social Development Commission (SDC), the Manchester Municipal Corporation and other groups. He further stated that on International World Peace Day Sept. 21, themed “The Right to Peace, the Way Forward,” was extended to Peace week. This year’s Youth were invited to a Peace Vigil, followed by a football game with the police and concluded the week with a Peace Concert.
During this time, Peace Programs were designed for all schools in Manchester. With the intention of making an impact on schools within the shortest time possible, MPCo designed a program for schools with the concept “if youth were taught to express their ideas in songs and plays, and after a matter of time, something must rub off if you engage the parents in these competitions, then the parents similarly will benefit from it” Dr Reid said. He said further that this year MPCo continued the successful recognition of fathers on Father’s Day initiative and will expand it ‘through the length and breadth of the parish and hopefully the country.”
Diana McIntyre-Pike, Marketing and PR Chair for MPCo endorsed the group in 2016 and commended them "as a model for peace in Jamaica and the Caribbean region which endorses the vision that Manchester is a place for peaceful and holistic living." She is also a partner with Sharon Parris-Chambers, founder of the One Love Peace Ambassador Pledge and helped forge the collaboration of an adaptation of the original pledge to the following MPCo version: “I pledge, under God, to be the Peace I want to see in the world and to show Respect and Tolerance for all. I pledge with all my heart and mind to Love, Forgive and Trust myself and others. As a committed One Love Peace Ambassador, I pledge to foster Peace and Love every day. In doing so, I heal myself, my Country and the world with One Love, One Heart at a time.”
MPCo plans to erect a plaque of the One Love Ambassador Pledge in the Greenvale community. This will be a constant reminder of their commitment to peace as the first to have a peace march where two opposing gangs faced each other peacefully in September 2016.