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Behold, the Peace Garden - St Andrew Rotary club aims to resolve disputes

Published:Friday | April 12, 2019 | 12:20 AM

The Rotary Club of St Andrew delivered on its commitment to contribute to the fight against crime and violence facing the country when it officially opened the Peace Garden located at the Hope Botanic Gardens in St Andrew.

The Peace Garden is intended to support the long-term, peace-building efforts within the overall national dispute resolution framework and increase capacity for conflict resolution at the community level.

The project was implemented through the fundraising efforts of the Rotary Club of St Andrew with substantial funding by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, and through a partnership with Nature Preservation Foundation, the operators of the Hope Botanic Gardens.

Lady Allen, who gave the keynote address, commended the opening of the Peace Garden as an opportunity to care for individuals who visit the property each day and the Hope Botanic Gardens.

She urged everyone to utilise the Peace Garden and resolve differences. “This can be done without violence but with respect for each other, so as to steer our country back to a place where honesty, neighbourliness, love, respect and hard work are the pillars upon which the society is built,” she said.

The Peace Garden features gazebos, a water fountain, and a labyrinth which provides a meditation and prayer path for introspection in a space that is elegant and beautiful, thereby generating a sense of tranquility.

In endorsing the project, Hilary Coulton, public relations and administrative manager of CHASE Fund, noted the project’s potential to provide a focal point for discussions and conflict resolution as a viable response to the mental and physical health and wellness needs of the country.

Coulton said the provision of assistance to the health sector is a critical part of the CHASE Fund’s mandate. Under this portfolio, CHASE has been equipping and enhancing health facilities, financing advanced training at the graduate and undergraduate levels for medical, technical and administrative professionals, and providing funding for preventative and public education programmes.

In presenting the project’s background, Immediate past president of the Rotary Club of St Andrew, Jemelia Davis, who is also the project leader and conceptualiser, highlighted the impact crime and violence has on community life and the national Budget.

She also mentioned the potential which conflict resolution interventions, like the Peace Garden, provide for achieving peace in local communities to the benefit of the country as a whole.