Peace For Prosperity VPA Steering Committee Meeting, April 14, 2009, Colorado

Notice is hereby given for the VPA Steering Committee Monthly Meeting on Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at 7am.

The meeting will be held at the VPA Office at the Institute of Sustainable Development, 13 Gibraltar Way, UWI Mona.

Please confirm your attendance by way of an email to Mrs. Winsome Heslop at [email protected] or call the office at 702 2079.

Be reminded that parking for all vehicles is restricted to the blue labeled parking spaces marked ISD.

VPA Steering Committee Meeting Minutes For Meeting Held On January 13, 2009 At The Institute Of Sustainable Development

The meeting was called to order by Prof. Barry Chevannes. 

Present were Horace Levy, Dr. Bradley Edwards, Tarik Weekes, Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Diane Ellis, Thora Richards-Palmer, Michael Aiken, Prof. Barry Chevannes, Dr. Christine Hammond-Gabbadon, Jaevion Nelson

Prof. Chevannes welcomed all in attendance at the meeting. Apologies for absence/lateness were tendered for: John Mahfood and Dr. Angela Ramsay

The Peace March and Rally – March 8, 2009

Prof. Chevannes asked the members present to offer their comments about the peace march which was held on March 8. He highlighted that there was a relative comparison to other years. The comments were as follows: 

Horace Levy mentioned that the youth who were in attendance were from uniformed groups and that was a commendable achievement. He also remarked that there were spectators standing at the side but very few joined in the march. He suspects that there were very little buy-in from the communities which would have influenced community participation. 

Dr. Ward highlighted that a number of support from youth organisations. This was achieved through the partnership with the National Centre for Youth Development. She believes that although we made some successes, there is still a lot of community apathy.  Dr. Ward also mentioned that the partnership with the Chamber of Commerce was another good move the VPA made for this years campaign. She remarked that that she more private sector involvement channeled through the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica in the next year. Dr. Ward also shared with the membership the number of different organizations who were in attendance. She noted that there were some new groups this year, this included UNDP and PIOJ.

Michael Aiken asked the membership what can be done in the next campaign to get people along the way to join the march. He highlighted that that the bands played a mixture of songs that were really positive but getting people to join along the march would have made the crowd swell.

Bradley Edwards recommended that some direct promotion in the communities where the march was happening could have brought numbers. 

Diane Ellis recommended that for sustainability of the campaign efforts the distribution of information on peace such as leaflets could be considered. 

Jaevion Nelson highlighted that the identification of the groups was a positive move in this years campaign. He remarked that it gave a signal of the wide cross section of people who are helping in the peae building efforts across the country. 

Prof. Chevannes remarked that the VPA has not come near the expected mobilization of the communities in this year’s campaign.

Horace Levy suggested that if the VPA wants the support of organized community groups, then community based organizations especially sports clubs would have to be the target for the next Peace for Prosperity Campaign. He also recommended that the VPA assess whether Sunday is the best day to have the peace march and rally. 

Professor Chevannes noted that the VPA may need to adopt a nodal approach to securing greater community participation. He spoke to the ideal scenario which he outlined should have seen the rally kicking off as soon as the last group entered the stadium car park. He remarked that the objective of the rally was really lost by this not happening. He spoke to a guarantee of persons leaving the rally with some form of message. He also suggested that for the next VPA meeting matters be addressed about collaboration for Peace for Prosperity. 

Issues surrounding an inspirational speaker at the rally were discussed and it was agreed that it would be looked into for next year. Diane Ellis suggested that the planning of the rally commence as soon as possible and that a speaker be decided and confirm before the end of the year. 

Presentation by National Transformation Project

Michael Aiken, National Director for Communication at the National Transformation Project presented about the objectives of the project. A discussion was tabled on the involvement of the Alliance and possible avenues for partnership and streamlining to ensure effectiveness of the project. 

Suggestions were made to Aiken about the NTP making a greater effort to seem more collaborative with organizations working in violence and crime prevention as opposed to seeming top-down, even though it may not be the intention.

Aiken said that if everything remained as planned and there were no budgetary cuts in the expansion plans of the NTT he would assign a projects officer to the Peace Campaign to assist with the mobilization of community-based and non-governmental organizations. 

Horace Levy moved for the adjournment of the meeting. Diane Ellis seconded.