It has been three months since the gruesome killing of the Lewis sisters – 69-year-old Christine, a retired teacher and justice of the peace and 72-year-old Lola. Still, the residual effects of the shock and horror remain with residents of the Spring Village community in Old Harbour, St Catherine.
Randy Finnikin, of the Spring Village Development Foundation, said he realised something had to be done to restore the ‘family feel’ in the area as he saw it as the only way to bring back the community to the place where persons actually cared and looked out for each other.
Last Wednesday, Finnikin started the first of a weekly initiative – a values and attitudes programme aimed at making a change from as early as possible – at the primary-school level.
The weekly session, targeting the Spring Gardens Primary School, is held at the Spring Village Development Foundation auditorium, and according to Finnikin, it will continue until it morphs into something impactful.
So far, the feedback from residents has been positive, he said. “More of the residents are showing intolerance to violence and antisocial behaviour. People are saying we want a better life, an improved standard of living, and crime and violence is not going to allow that to happen,” he told The Gleaner, adding the resolve that crime and violence is not the answer has resonated throughout the community.
He said that other initiatives being looked at to stem crime and to bring about positive change include the promotion of broader skills training for young people for which collaborations are being sought with stakeholders.
“We have gotten one so far with Jamaica Luminaries, which seeks to strengthen our work with farmers, and, importantly, to change the status quo of farming by providing training and looking towards building greenhouses and restart a castor oil production that was put on hold two years ago when COVID started,” he shared.
Spring Village on path to healing after gruesome crime Jamaica Gleaner