McCalla: Anywhere you have an illegal activity taking place, what walks behind it in very close succession is violence.
CHRISTIANA, Jamaica--Parents and their children from selected schools in the south-central parish of Manchester are set to benefit from a four-month training on parenting and behavioural change being spearheaded by the Manchester Peace Coalition.
Head of the Manchester police, Superintendent Shane McCalla and director for the Ministry of Education’s Region 5, Ottis Brown have lauded the initiative coordinated by Dr. Clifton Reid, chairman of the Manchester Peace Coalition.
McCalla, who is a former educator, said the initiative is well needed to steer children away from crime and deal with the breakdown in parenting.
“I have seen [the – Ed.] two sides of the problem. I have seen it from the side of the teacher in the classroom; seeing the disruptive behaviour, the breakdown in parenting, the breakdown in community, and I am now seeing it from the other side, where we now [as police] have to be, unfortunately, dealing with the results of that breakdown,” he said at Thursday’s launch of the initiative.
“Initiatives like these are well needed … to assist the police. The police alone cannot solve the crime problem that you are seeing now; it is a collective effort from everyone that is needed,” he told his audience, consisting of parents, teachers and educators from Holmwood Technical High.
The police chief implored young people to desist from the lucrative, but deadly lottery scamming lifestyle.
“Everything that glitters is not gold. Right now, a lot of the dead bodies coming out of murders that are now impacting the parish of Manchester are coming out of that illegal activity [scamming] – friends killing friends, family members killing family members, communities turning against each other,” he said.
“Anywhere you have an illegal activity taking place, what walks behind it in very close succession, is violence. Students, you have boys who grow up and they don’t live past age 20. They are dead now,” he added.
McCalla said Manchester recorded 59 murders in 2022.
“That is a lot of lives that were lost in the parish of Manchester and when you look at the primary cause of those murders, it stems from domestic disputes and the inability to manage conflict and a lot of those conflicts came out of illegal activities,” he said.
McCalla implored parents to be vigilant in raising their children.
“Persons who fall victim to these acts of violence and start off into the life of crime, when you check and do that historical profile, [for] a lot of these persons the problem started from [when] they were young and it started from the issues in terms of parenting,” he said.
“Your involvement in your child’s life can mean the difference between life and death. Your involvement in your child’s life can mean that we will see a reduction in crime and the acts of violence that we are now experiencing,” he added.
Dr. Reid explained that the initiative, which is being funded by the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, was conceptualised based on consultations with residents in communities.
“We want to support parents through the project and the workshop. We want to see if we can reduce the dropout rate of children [from] schools. These are things we didn’t just pull out of a hat. These [goals] are from consultation with community members,” he said.
“We want to support uniformed groups; it is part of the reason why we are in this [problem] now, because these bodies are dying and need our support. We also want to see if we can reduce the scourge of child abuse,” he added.
Dr. Reid said drum therapy would be incorporated to remedy behavioural issues among young people.
“This [drum therapy] is something which has scientific validity. Some folks in the UK have actually done the studies looking at autistic children and what they have shown is that if you just sit around in a circle and beat your drum and be a part of this camaraderie, they have actually shown that it almost rewired their [children’s] brains,” he said.
He said the project would involve 10 parents and their children from each of the selected schools.
“We are going to be collecting the information on these young people in terms of their behavioural issues and their academic performances and then after the exposure to the drumming session for four months, we are going to look again at those numbers,” added Dr. Reid.
Brown encouraged young people to stay away from wrongdoing.
“Walk away from wrongs. The police will tell you there is something out there called the get rich quick mentality, but quite often when you get the gains of [it] you don’t live to benefit from it, because it is just not the good road to go. I want to encourage young people, in particular our boys, to walk away from scamming, stealing, fighting, gunning. I would advise you to choose drumming,” he said. ~ Jamaica Observer ~