A Peace March is being planned by the entertainment community to send a message to the public concerning Jamaica’s ongoing problem with crime and violence.
Scheduled for Sunday, May 23, the march, which is called ‘Walk For Peace’ and is set to start at the Police Officers’ Club in New Kingston and end at Heroes Circle, in downtown Kingston. When THE WEEKEND STAR spoke to Shaggy, organiser and spokesperson for the event, he explained that the march was still in its planning stages. He said, “Something has to be done and who better to do it than the artistes. Artistes are very influential people … . If we can take a step towards peace then we can send a message to society.”
speaking to the Mayor
According to Shaggy, the Walk for Peace organisers are currently waiting to obtain the proper permits and have begun speaking to the mayor as well as other officials. Shaggy says they have also been in talks with a number of artistes who are interested in the march. However, he was unwilling to name the artistes who will be attending as their schedules will have to be confirmed first.
For Shaggy, the idea to have a peace march has been in the back of his mind for a while now. “This violence ting been going on for a while now, but what really brought this about is what happened wid Oneil from Voicemail and then the follow-up with Cobra. I remember coming to Jamaica one time and seeing the murder rate that was being published in The Gleaner and just found it alarming. The number is in the 500s and it’s not even half of the year yet.”
Oneil Edwards from the group Voicemail was shot on Monday as he was entering his home in Duhaney Park, St Andrew. The artiste was rushed to the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) in critical condition where he has undergone treatment and improvements have been reported. On Tuesday evening, deejay Mad Cobra was shot in the shoulder in Portmore and was taken to the Spanish Town Hospital.
finding a solution
Shaggy told THE WEEKEND STAR that the incident with Edwards “hit close to home” as Voicemail has released an album under his Big Yard label and are regulars at the recording studio. “We want to send a strong message, as to what will it do? We don’t know. But we’re hopeful we can see what can be done to build a stronger country,” he said. According to Shaggy, the organisers are still unsure as to what will take place at the end of the march, whether a concert or a discussion will be held in aid of finding a solution to the crime problem.
He added, “we’re inviting the general public to march, join with us, which means the message will be sent strongly and received. People from the private sector, from both political parties, everyone. It’s critical at this point.” On social networking site Facebook.com a group has already been formed called ‘Walk For Peace: Save Jamaica’, where persons are encouraged to support the event by sharing their stories through posting a photo of someone they’ve lost in the last 10 years, tell a story of their life and to invite all their family and friends.
Since the incidents with Edwards and Cobra that took place this week, the entertainment fraternity has shown their support for peace and to make a difference with a vigil held in Half-Way Tree on Monday for Edwards and one on Tuesday at the KPH. Deejay Mavado came public yesterday saying that he has been doing work alongside Reverend Al Miller and the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), he is also asking for the support of his fellow entertainers.