Superintendent Shanta Knowles, Press Officer for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) as well as Officer-In-Charge of the National Crime Prevention Office, was the special guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Eleuthera on Thursday evening, February 20th, 2020, as they observed ‘Peace and Conflict’ month.
Her talk with the audience of Rotary members, and interested community members, centered around ways in which conflict could be resolved, within communities, as well as within schools – and conflicts involving young people. As community leaders, Superintendent Knowles encouraged the audience to keep calm heads in situations where there were misunderstandings, and advocated finding ways to find compromise, with the aim of resolving the conflict without violence.
Key to successful conflict resolution, shared Supt. Knowles, was careful listening, providing opportunities to meet the needs of all parties, and adequately addressing those interests for a satisfactory outcome for each party. She went on to discuss detailed methods and steps involved in mediating and intervening in conflicts for peaceful resolutions, and invited questions from the audience throughout her presentation.
Commenting on some of the crime statistics for the island of Eleuthera, relevant to conflict, Supt. Knowles observed, “The Police have been doing some great work on Eleuthera. With only eight incidents involving ‘crimes against a person’ in 2019, compared to twenty incidents in 2018 – a 60% decrease – that speaks volumes for the work they are doing here, and the partnership the Royal Bahamas Police Force has with the community.”
Knowles, who also spoke of her roots in Eleuthera, having grown up in Wemyss Bight and Rock Sound, took the place of Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police, Ismella Delancy, who was originally scheduled to speak, but was unable to be there that evening. Concluding her presentation, she emphasized, “It takes us, all of us, to intervene in these conflicts, whether they be in schools or within our communities, so that we can maintain the peace and tranquility on the island of Eleuthera.”
Rotarian Jacqueline Gibson, who leads Rotary Club of Eleuthera’s ‘Road to Peace’ initiative, shared some of the other activities taken on by the local civic group during their observation of Rotary International’s ‘Peace and Conflict’ month. Specifically within several of the schools in Central Eleuthera, where Rotary youth clubs have been established, including: Emma E. Cooper Primary, Emily G. Petty Primary, P. A. Gibson Primary and Central Eleuthera High School – during the final week in February, the group planned to promote the concept of peace at the school level by raising Peace flags, sponsored by the One Eleuthera Foundation, denoting the schools as Peace sites.
Working along with the ‘World Citizen’ organization, and its’ president elect, Lisa Krupp, the flag kits also included plaques erected at the schools outlining five peace points: (Seek peace within yourself and others; Reach out in service; Protect the environment; Respect diversity; and Be a responsible citizen of the world).
A symbolic community peace walk was also organized, which took place on Saturday, February 22nd. The route, which took participants from the Police headquarters at Worker’s House in Governor’s Harbour to the grounds of the Ministry of Tourism offices, also highlighted Rotary’s partnership with the RBPF in promoting peace and harmony within the Eleuthera community.
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