Tamara Bailey, Gleaner Writer
THE COOL central parish, located in the county of Middlesex and deemed the happiest of the 14 parishes, on Sunday celebrated its 199th birthday at the recently dedicated Peace Park, Brooks Park Sports and Recreational Complex.
The celebration, which was planned several months ago and inaugurated last year, began with a church service at the 198-year-old parish church, St Mark's Anglican Church, and saw persons travelling to the parish for delicious cuisine and a fun-filled staging of the birthday merriment.
According to Dr Clifton Reid, chairman, Brooks Park Develop-ment Board and Manchester Development Committee, Man-chester has its many challenges, as do all parishes, though some are slightly foreign. The escalating crime and violence in the parish has made it hard to juxtapose the fact that the parish was deemed the happiest, while still said to have the highest levels of domestic violence.
Reid is resolute that all hope is not lost. "We plan to put together a team of persons that will execute each year a grand competition among people where we have them thinking peace, starting with the school and then the regions. We want them to engage the thinking process, and then canvassing or writing songs, poems or drama, and I am terming this a subliminal indoctrination, but in this case, for a good cause. I think that if we can impact children in the parish in that way, it must reflect in changed behaviour and people's reaction to fellow men."
Mayor of Mandeville Brenda Ramsay, in her address, urged the residents to continue to be resilient in the midst of the crime and violence that is affecting the country.