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Spirit of the Orleans

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Spirit of the Orleans

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There was something special about this year’s New Orleans Community Police Christmas party.
For the past three years, officers from the community outpost have been hosting the party at the Superville Guest House in 3rd Avenue, Pickwick Gap, St Michael, but this time around it was open not just to residents of the Orleans but the surrounding areas as well, particularly Chapman Lane.
Recent gunplay between the neighbouring communities had struck fear among residents so police community relations officer Sergeant Francis Sisnett, the head of both the New Orleans post and the recently enacted Emmerton Lane post, thought the annual party would be the perfect event to continue the work of bringing the two communities closer together.
“This is a Christmas party to get the two areas to come together. Since the incident, relations have been 90 per cent better and upon speaking to residents, most say they are sorry the shooting occurred and want to see greater co-operation between the communities,” he said, adding there had been no shootings since last month.
Also attending the party was Member of Parliament for the City Patrick Todd and crime prevention officer Station Sergeant Stephen Griffith.
“This is the continuation of the programmes we as the Force are doing to work with the people of New Orleans and help to remove the stigma of places such as this where only a few cause problems but the majority are working with us,” said Griffith.
He said there were plans for more programmes in the area all in an effort to “bring a sense of ownership and pride back to the Orleans”.
As for Todd, he applauded the work of the officers and expressed pleasure at the increasing number of children attending the party every year.
“Their work is very important to develop a positive and cohesive community spirit in the Bridgetown area where we can see ourselves as one homogeneous society living in peace and harmony. After all, prevention is better than cure,” he said.
Sisnett said some of the other planned events included a Twenty20 cricket tournament next month; a dominoes competition and a teen talent show specifically for the area with the help of Richard Stoute.
The guesthouse is owned by Irene Wiltshire, who houses the party free of charge as she supports the work the police are doing to bring the community together. Sisnett said Wiltshire was not the only charitable donor as he said businesses in the area had also donated food and drinks.
There were also volunteers who assisted with sharing out the food and chaperoning the many children – people such as Grace Hutson, Nercurius Moore and Sherill Weekes. The women all voiced their support of the efforts of the police with Weekes adding it was also a way to help the police who she said had been doing much for the country. (CA)