First Look

Farming Initiative launched in Manchester to reduce domestic violence

Jamaica Information Service | 2014-03-12 00:00:00

The Manchester Dispute Resolution and  Violence Prevention Association (MDRVPA), has launched a farming initiative,  aimed at providing meaningful employment, which it hopes will lead to a reduction in the cases of domestic violence in the parish.

Figures provided by the Manchester Police Division indicate that in 2013 there were 2,000 cases of domestic issues reported in the parish.

The communities of Grey Ground, Albion, Pear Tree, Green Vale and George’s Valley have been selected to participate in the initiative, with two persons from each community receiving financial and resource oriented assistance to off-set their farming projects.

Speaking at the formal handing over ceremony on February 28, Senior Superintendent of Police, Marlon Nesbeth, disclosed that 80 of the 2,000 reported cases of domestic violence in the parish last year, were referred to the MDRVPA, while the Police addressed the remainder.

“The Association dealt with the cases effectively and we have not had any major issues arising subsequently, so certainly the association is working,” he said. According to Mr. Nesbeth, in 2013 over 40 per cent of major crimes were directly attributed to domestic issues, thus the emphasis on curbing the incidents.

“We will continue in 2014 with domestic violence as a focus area,” Mr. Nesbeth said, and assured  that the Agro-Enforcement team of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will  assist farmers to deal with praedial larcenists.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, who also addressed the handing over ceremony, said that the MDRVPA has a special mandate to use pro-active initiatives to stem the high level of domestic violence cases.

He noted that in domestic issues, the perpetrators and the victims oftentimes are known to each other.  “Sometimes they are family members, neighbours or their associates,” he added.

These issues, the Minister pointed out, are  not always related to gang or criminal activity, but rather disputes over family land, love triangles and  petty matters that escalate into violence and sometimes murder. 

“We saw that policing by itself, could not prevent many of these incidents. We had to engage several persons to get to the root of some of these problems and to find a mechanism to address it,” Mr. Bunting said.

The MDRVPA was launched late 2012 and has the support of the political representatives of the parish, the Custos, Ministers’ Fraternal, Northern Caribbean University and the Police,  particularly the Community Safety and Security Branch.

“In relation to taking on the responsibility to reduce violence in the parish, this Association has provided training to over 150 persons as first responders to domestic violence, in dispute resolution, parenting and now the farming initiative,” the Minister noted.

Mr. Bunting charged the beneficiaries of the farming initiative to be ambassadors for violence prevention.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the MDRVPA, Pastor Michael Harvey, said  the association wanted to provide something tangible that can benefit individuals.
“We have engaged key players in the farming industry to provide training to the farmers, so that they can have  greater yields,” he said.

Pastor Harvey explained that the communities have been  divided into groups and they will be doing different types of farming.

“From this initiative we know people will get a start. We will be providing them with entrepreneurial training and market for their goods, so that they will be able to manage what they have. The intent is that this initiative will be replicated across the parish,” he added. 

Gwendolyn Koggle, a beneficiary of the farming project, who is  from the Pear Tree community,  said she is  delighted to be a participant.

“I thank them very much because I have learnt a lot. I am grateful for the experience and we will not let them down,”  she said.

Key contributors to the farming initiative include Northern Caribbean University (NCU), Social Development Commission (SDC), Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS), the Community Safety and Security Branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Parish Council.


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