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Rotary Club of Sav lauded for dispute resolution training

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Rotary Club of Sav lauded for dispute resolution training

BY ANTHONY LEWIS
Observer writer

Thursday, January 31, 2019

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FERRIS, Westmoreland – The Rotary Club of Savanna-la-Mar is being lauded for spearheading the recent staging of a three-day advance training in dispute resolution for primary and secondary school guidance counsellors in Hanover and Westmoreland.

Rhodes Hall High School’s dean of discipline, Gregory Hewitt, who is a dispute resolution trainer, told the Jamaica Observer West that he is happy to see the programme making a positive impact in the society.

“I am happy for the three days of training as it relates to peace learning in Jamaica. I benefited from this type of training in Illinois in June 2018, and I have returned to share in this activity here. I was one of the trainers for the trainees, it was really an awesome experience, especially when we were doing an anger management course, and I heard the responses from various people. It really gave me joy to know that we are making a positive impact on society,” said Hewitt.

“I just want to thank the Rotary Club in Westmoreland. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to interface and share in this programme,” added Hewitt.

Tracie Campbell, principal of Ferris Primary and Noelle Randall of Petersfield Primary and Infant School, both in Westmoreland, were among those who shared similar sentiments.

The workshop was held at the Ferris Primary School in Westmoreland.

The 55 guidance counsellors in attendance were exposed to advance training in dispute resolution.

Chairman of the 25-year-old Dispute Resolution Foundation, John Bassie, in his address at the closing and awards ceremony of the workshop, encouraged the trainees to make good use of the training, as well as the planned peace and conflict centre, when completed.

“These dispute resolution techniques, mechanisms, ideas, way of life, is for everybody. You have to live it. You can’t put it in a box. You can’t get up one day [and] say you are going to be peaceful, and then the next day, you’re not. I ask of you, please use your training and the resource centre very well. Embrace peace, love, and unity. And, believe that the peace and the conflict centre can be a stimulus for peace, security and happiness in this parish and beyond,” Bassie said.

It is expected that the construction of the centre on the grounds of the Ferris Primary School, which is being spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Savanna-la-Mar, will be completed next year.

On completion, the facility is to be manned by trained professionals and is to provide a space for teachers to be trained, undergo refresher courses, and most importantly, provide intervention for students who are on the brink of expulsion or suspension.

The three-day training, which was staged at a cost of US$56, 000, was supported by the Rotary Club of Indianapolis and a number of overseas-based clubs, including the Rotary Club of Russellville, Rotary Club of Arcola, Rotary Club of Tuscola, Illinois, and Rotary Club of Bloomington – Normal Daybreak, Illinois.

Past district governor of Rotary International, Douglas Arnold, told the Jamaica Observer that the workshop was aimed at training as many guidance counsellors as possible, so that they in turn can train other teachers in the area of dispute resolution.

In the meantime, Arnold, a retired Jamaican policeman, said he is not in full support of corporal punishment. He said there are other non-violent methods of solving disputes.

“I don’t think corporal punishment helps so much. Violence negates violence, and I have come to realise that there are non-violent ways of doing things. I have kids, my first child, I used to do that [corporal punishment]. With my last two kids I did nothing like that, and they are not anywhere the worse for that. So,you see, there are non-violent methods of solving disputes,” he argued.

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