Manchester group showcasing good fathers in 18 communities

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Eighteen at-risk communities in this south-central parish are being targeted by the Manchester Peace Coalition in an effort to showcase good fathers this Sunday, which is celebrated as Father’s Day.

Dr Clifton Reid, chairman of the coalition, told the Jamaica Observer that the fourth annual Father’s Day event hosted by the group, which was cancelled last year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, will be held virtually this weekend.

He emphasised the importance of recognising good fathers as role models for boys.

“Father’s Day is something we would like to spread across Jamaica in every nook and cranny, because it is pivotal to showcasing good fathers in communities and hopefully the young men coming up will emulate these examples of good fathers that we hope to elevate on Father’s Day,” he said.

“What is happening now is that it is lacking, and we are seeing instead something [linked] to the dancehall culture, where ‘man fi have nuff gyal… and scamming,” he added.

Dr Reid said the 18 communities in Manchester have been classified by the police as “active” areas.

“We actually did a community study with Dr Herbert Gayle, through some funding we got from the Canadian High Commission, and we have that working with. Father’s Day is one of the things [we decided] to take up,” he said.

Greenvale, Comfort, Royal Flat, Barnstable, Heartease, Albion, Cedar Grove, May Day, Farm, Waltham, Three Chains, George’s Valley, New Green, Hatfield, and Brockery are among the communities that have been engaged based on recommendations from the Manchester police.

Children were encouraged to write about their fathers as part of an entry requirement in a competition which will culminate on Father’s Day, and from those entries a Father of the Year will be named.

“There are other competitions in the communities where we ask the children to do some art depicting Father’s Day,” said Dr Reid.

The virtual event, which is also a fund-raiser, can be accessed online at https://mpco.iteneri.com/event/manchester-peace-coalition/show

For years the Manchester Peace Coalition has been active in at-risk communities.

The coalition of community stakeholders started work in 2013 after an overseas organisation, International Institute for Peace, designated Mandeville as the first peace town in the Caribbean, and Brooks Park, the first peace park in the Caribbean.

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