Train JPs in dispute resolution
THE EDITOR, Sir:
While the facts remain true that the family featured in the lead story of Thursday, April 12 ('Family feud') has been engaged in a horrible family dispute for more than 11 years, and that they may not have entered into a formal reconciliation, there is a need to acknowledge the glimmer of hope that was realised during our visit.
The first step towards solving any issue is for persons to admit or acknowledge their involvement or contributions towards the negative turn of events. Persons, in fact, did this.
Some admitted to furthering the war of words, curtailing their children's movements, and though sheepishly, one agreed that complaints against her children that were brought to her attention could have been handled differently.
A long-standing issue of chickens being slaughtered alongside another person's kitchen was also addressed. It was argued that the slaughter pit was built long before the house. When asked how they would have felt being in the other person's shoe, the response was, "Not good". It was agreed that another section would be used instead.
Towards the end of our meeting, persons hugged each other and everyone expressed happiness for the intervention. Most, in their own way, promised to maintain the peace. Others remained sceptical.
I spoke with one family member Thursday morning. In her words, "Things much better; mi auntie from foreign, when she hear, cry and say at least when she come a Jamaica, she can visit Fern Hill again."
The police have confirmed that threats and assault rank high on their list of offences. Many reports never reach the courts, but it is easy to imagine the anger, hurt, pain, fear and unforgiveness in the hearts of both victim and offenders. I believe it would be helpful if the justices of the peace who reside in the community of Lawrence Tavern could access training in dispute resolution.
As JPs we are increasingly asked to come out of our status quo and comfort zone and extend ourselves to administer justice and maintain the peace. This is a start, and a good one, I may add. There is room and opportunity for others to further assist this family to find closure.