Jamaica Gleaner / Alicia Forrest, Gleaner Writer WATERFORD, St Catherine:
THE SOUNDS of drumming and singing brought residents of Waterford out of their homes on Sunday in support of a peace march organised by the Waterford Peace Action Committee (WPAC).
Residents marched throughout the community, including the section known as ‘Gaza’. It ended at the bus terminal near the Waterford Infant School with a concert and a general call for the establishment of Waterford as a model community by political representatives, civic groups and other stakeholders.
Chair of the WPAC, Reverend Stephenson Mitchell, said last Sunday, observed as Palm Sunday, was a symbolic day to have the peace march and declare that Waterford will become a model community for Jamaica.
According to Reverend Dr Dylan Toussaint of the Waterford Baptist Church, the event was intended to show a united front for peace, love and togetherness going forward.
“We know that this won’t cure all ills, but it acknowledges that things have gone wrong in the community of Waterford and that we are prepared to do what needs to be done.”
He added: “We are thankful for the support we have received, and more intervention has been taking place and will continue to take place in the community of Waterford.”
Councillor for the Waterford division, Fenley Douglas, lamented the crime situation in his address to the gathering. “I am sick and tired of the violence and the bloodletting in our community. We want back Waterford. We want our community to go back to its earlier days when it was one love for our community.” Douglas also highlighted the positives of the community, including the improvement of Waterford High School.
Douglas’ sentiments were echoed by Member of Parliament for South East St Catherine Colin Fagan, and Acting Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas, who also spoke to the gathering.
Kartel’s voice notes
Senior Superintendent (SSP) of Police Noel Christie of the St Catherine South Division said he was glad that residents had taken a stand to denounce crime and violence in the community. He referred to the recent release of audio evidence from the trial of convicted entertainer Vybz Kartel saying, “I’m not certain if the wake-up call came from the audio, from the voice of a member of this community as to what he would do if he did not get back his guns. That message was so cold and chilling that every one of you here must be thinking about it.”
SSP Christie urged the residents to support the police, noting that they will be taking steps to remove Gaza signs in the community.
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