Wed | Nov 14, 2018

US Embassy and Stand Pipe residents join forces

Published:Friday | August 10, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Eastern St Andrew MP Fayval Williams (left) with youngsters from the Stand Pipe community before their recent departure to the United States.

A travel advisory published by the United States (US) Embassy sometime ago warning Americans visiting Jamaica to avoid certain communities, including Stand Pipe in St Andrew, was used as a stepping stone to forge a better relationship between the community and the embassy.

Stand Pipe is located just across from the US Embassy along Old Hope Road in Liguanea, St Andrew. The community has had its fair share of violence and disruptions in the past, but it has been event-free for a while although the scars of poverty are still etched on the face of the community.

With intervention from Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern Fayval Williams, the embassy has agreed to partner with the community. The result, so far, has given rise to a dream opportunity for seven youngsters to visit several cities in the United States.

"When I saw that information [in the travel advisory], I thought it would be a good opportunity to engage with the US embassy in community outreach with Stand Pipe. That, is exactly what I did, and through our Ministry of Foreign Affairs, we began that conversation," Williams told The Gleaner.

She said that the community and the embassy met amid a good turnout and with ideas being placed on the table for consideration.

"As a first project, the United States has granted seven of the young people from Stand Pipe visas to visit the United States. I saw them off, and they will visit several cities over the next three weeks to learn about community engagement," Williams stated.

When they return to their community, they will be expected to begin a project of their own based on what they have learnt, the MP said.

"I think this is a very positive development, and I know that looking forward, there will be many more positive initiatives to come out of this because it is an engagement that will last for a while," Williams said as she heaped praises on the embassy for taking on her suggestion.