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Marching for peace - 10,000 strong

Published:Sunday | April 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

TIRED OF the gun and gore, missionaries in Spanish Town, St Catherine, are vowing to take back the Old Capital from hoodlums whom they say have desecrated it, shattered families, crippled communities and stifled business growth.

"Spanish Town will be coming out to voice their disgust and to say enough is enough," organiser of today's 10,000-man march, Bishop Rohan Edwards, told The Sunday Gleaner.

According to Edwards, the march, which leads from Greendale in the parish to the town centre, is aimed at winning the support all law-abiding citizens to speak out against crime and violence.

"Somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 people will be coming out to march. They will be coming from various sections of Spanish Town to register their disgust against mayhem and the wickedness that is taking place," Edwards said.

The bishop said the reason for targeting 10,000 men is due to statistical evidence which points to men being the perpetrators of most crimes.

One big supporter of citizen's action against crime is Super-intendent Assan Thompson, head of the St Catherine police. He has endorsed the 10,000-man march but said it has to be more than symbolic.

"After the march there must be something else and that something else can't be for us to prepare for another march. It must be that we call some people to the table to say we have to change the way we operate in the country," Thompson told The Sunday Gleaner.

St Catherine has been one of Jamaica's most violent parishes recording 343 murders last year. With 100 days gone in the year, the parish has been grappling with the deadly monster, with persons fleeing many communities to escape its deadly grip.

Peace marches are not new to Spanish Town. Last year, for example, the Church led a 'One Thousand Man March' into the Old Capital as it attempted to win back communities from gunmen.

Speak out

Yesterday, Thompson said residents must not only be prepared to march today but they should also find the courage to speak out.

"The marchers must show their intolerance to crime and criminality. We have to break the silence; the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil must be abandoned," Thompson said.

He told The Sunday Gleaner that enough persons are not providing information to the police about crime and criminals and has urged that people fall in line and take back their communities.

"Once the criminals know that the citizens have broke their silence, things will change. The sport of rabbit hunting will not be the same the day the rabbit start to chase the hunters. After this march, I want to see the people become the hunters and go after those person who have been holding their communities hostage," he said.

Thousands will be coming out to register their disgust against mayhem and the wickedness that is taking place in Spanish Town.