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Fear of violence in Clarendon cripples charity football competition

Published:Wednesday | October 28, 2015 | 11:38 AMShanique Samuels

MAY PEN, Clarendon:

Shantal Cameron is a lower sixth-form student at the Glenmuir High School and is a lover of the sciences. She plans to pursue a career in physiotherapy.

Cameron sat nine subjects and scored seven distinctions and two credits in this year's Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations, but she could not have achieved such great success without the assistance of the James and Friends Education Programme.

Shantal is the eldest of four children for her mother, who at this time last year, found it challenging to pay for her to sit the exams. Luckily, she was a beneficiary of the programme for more than four years, so she was granted assistance to offset the cost of the subjects.

Events such as the JFEP annual charity football match is organised to raise funds to assist in offsetting the cost of paying for the subjects of many other students like Shantal.

However, this year's third staging of charity football match was not a big a hit as was expected because of the violence plaguing the Farm/Effortville community. The expected turnout was lacking, so the funds generated were significantly less than projected. Although Former Reggae Boy Walter Boyd and the principals of Glenmuir and Denbigh schools were the headlining acts, that was not enough to ease the tension, calm fears and pull the desired crowd.

Coordinator for the event, Otis James says he is not hindered by the low turnout. "We would have got good support, but the people didn't come out because of fear. The sponsors came, nonetheless, out of their commitment to helping the at-risk youth. Violence in the community is not good for us because when meaningful events like these are put on in the community, we get low support," he told Rural Xpress. As a result, James said he is now looking to partner with Minister of Education Ronnie Thwaites and his ministry in trying to find a way to pay for the exams of the many students who are desperately in need.

Overall, the game was a good venture. The female JFEP sponsors won the game 1-0 over Humble Lion females, while the Humble Lion Masters outscored their counterparts two goals to one.