Horace Fisher, Gleaner Writer
MAY PEN, Clarendon:
THE DISPUTE Resolution Foundation (DRF), in its drive to enhance the resolution of disputes in Jamaica, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with four Clarendon community-based organisations (CBOs) at the Grace Baptist Church, May Pen, Clarendon, last Friday.
The DRF, through the European Union-funded 'We Want Justice Programme', signed the MOU with the Bucknor Concerned Citizens' Association, the Clarendon Ministerial Fraternity, and the Oliver's Garden Women's Movement to explore and implement alternative dispute resolutions practices as a method of resolving domestic, commercial, industrial, political and social disputes among members of the communities.
The signed MOU, which indicated that the communities must participate in dispute resolution foundation training activities, promote the use of alternative dispute resolution and establish and maintain collaborative problem-solving partnerships for safer communities, while the DRF will commit to provide technical assistance and training, along with public education and promotional materials for the programme.
According to DRF project director Vivienne Dacosta, the DRF operates in four parishes: Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, Clarendon and St James with 11 CBOs that are involved in community safety and security at the community level.
Dacosta said the DRF is currently working in four parishes with 11 CBOs to enhance dispute resolutions.
Project manager at the European Union Jamaica mission, Marlene Lamont, congratulated the CBOs that signed the MOU. She noted that the historical signing is a clear demonstration of local communities' commitments to resolve disputes through dispute-resolution mechanisms.
Committed to change
"I extend hearty congratulations to the DRF and the CBOs who have signed the MOU here today. Your signing is an indication of your commitments to use mediations to resolve disputes in your respective communities. The rich mix of CBOs engaged in this process with the DRF will maximise the benefits to be gained in the various communities in terms of, among other things, more peaceful communities, with more positive interactions between the citizenry," stated Lamont.
Mayor of May Pen Scean Barnswell, in endorsing the DRF-EU 'We Want Justice Programme', indicated that, "The children of Clarendon are depending upon us to advocate for a place that is conducive to live, work and play, and that our neighbours, friends, and colleagues also want Clarendon to enjoy ways to resolve any differences in a respectful way, without fear of harm or inappropriate behaviours."