Corporate Jamaica urged to come out and support Peace March

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Chairman of the Steering Committee for the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), Professor Barry Chevannes, is urging corporate Jamaica to come out and support the Peace March and Rally that will be held on Peace Day, March 4.

The event will be the major activity to bring Peace Month, which will be observed from February 6 to March 4, to a close.

Speaking at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, held at the agency’s Half-Way Tree head office in Kingston on January 23, Professor Chevannes noted that this year, the Alliance is putting all its efforts into bringing out people who want to have a say and make a statement about the need for peace.

“We want to appeal to all quarters, not just churches and non- governmental organizations, but also to business entities, youth organizations and professional agencies to come out and give their support,” he explained.

The peace march is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. in Half-Way Tree and culminate at the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) car park in downtown, Kingston with a Peace Rally.

According to Professor Chevannes, while the marching band is passing, persons from various organisations could join in with their banners indicating that their organization stands for peace.

“That’s what we really want to do, as so much is lost because of violence. All sections of the society stand to gain from peace, so we are saying come out on that particular day and show that you are for peace,” the Chairman said.

Commenting on the view that peace marches are mere gestures and have no significant value, Professor Chevannes noted that these marches can send a powerful message if they get the full support of the people.

“It is a symbol and people galvanize and mobilize themselves for symbols and also fight and die for symbols. When we have thousands of people in the street, it can energize and strengthen those who are committed to peace and who are working for peace and so the peace movement grows and when it grows, then you know that there are more of us for peace than those for war and violence,” he explained.

Emphasizing the need for the business community to become involved in the peace march and other peace building activities, Professor Chevannes said: “We think the theme – ‘Peace for Prosperity’ – should resonate with the business sector. We are not going to get prosperity without peace and therefore it is in the interest of every company to commit itself to join in this movement. All we are asking for is just a few hours out of a whole year and a few of your employees,” he added.

In the meantime, the Chairman pointed out that there are a number of other activities that organizations may undertake during Peace Month to help in the thrust to reduce the level of violence in the society.

These activities include organizing seminars; implementing mentorship programs; training employees on how best to deal with grief as well as working with community organizations to host sporting activities.

Organizations which wish to join the VPA are encouraged to visit the website at: or call 702-2079. E-mails may also be sent to [email protected].

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