Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
THE FOUR-YEAR-long fragile peace accord in the volatile community of Rose Heights in St James could buckle under pressure, as some of the principal players are seemingly on the verge of giving up because of a lack of support.
Convener of the Covenant of Peace, Pastor Knollis King of the Rose Heights Full Gospel Church, told The Gleaner that internal and external pressures, as well as a lack of social-intervention programmes, are on course to unravel the peace accord in the community.
"There are some tense situations right now. There are some issues that are getting out of hand. We need to grapple with them, because if we don't, Heaven help us all. Many of the members of the covenant are now losing the will to fight for the peace.
"The covenant attracted most of the so-called bad guys - guys that the police were having problems with - and through the whole movement, most of the guys have reformed their lives and taken it upon themselves to embrace the community and become ambassadors for peace."
NO FINANCIAL SUPPORT
King said the situation has become tenuous as his proposed social-intervention programmes to empower the young men have not received any financial support, leading to a group of frustrated and impatient individuals who are teetering on the edge to revert to the activities of the past.
"We are coming from a commu-nity that used to see 16 murders for the week, and for the past four years we have rid the community of that. We lack financial support, and we are the ones that people call on whatever situation, whatever problem they face here.
"We put out proposals (dealing with issues such as) literacy, parenting skills, entertainment, sports, farming and agriculture and landscaping to assist these young men and nothing happened. We don't get the support of those with the financial strength, so we continue to flounder," the pastor said.
He explained further: "We don't have a proper playing field. We would want to establish our own little studio. Some of the guys want to get into farming, some want to go back to school, but as it now stands, we have no help."
King, who is now the councillor for the Rose Heights division, said his entry into political life was spurred by the fact that he could now seek to use his political clout to influence positive change in the division.
He is now seeking $7 million to establish an office and a training programme to uplift residents.
Under the Rose Heights Covenant of Peace, the following tenets have been established and agreed on by members of the community: