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Surprising turnout at LOVN SVG peace march, rally

Surprising turnout at LOVN SVG peace march, rally

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Plans are already in place for the 2014 Leave Out Violence in St Vincent Association (LOVN SVG) march and rally, scheduled for April 19, says vice president of the association, Toni Johnson.{{more}}

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT in the wake of their second peace march and rally last Friday, Johnson said she was surprised at the number of persons who turned out for the worthy cause.

Vincentians marched from the entrance of the Girls’ High School to the Sion Hill intersection where the rally was held.

Residents of Sion Hill and surrounding areas heard speeches from president of LOVNSVG Nialah John, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, a victim of domestic abuse, Idesha Jackson of the National Women’s Congress and others.

Entertainment for the event was provided by a number of local artistes, including Chris Grant, Diya, calypso and ragga soca monarch, Fire Empress, Bomani, Fireman Hooper, Fete King and Maddzart.

The GHS Young Leaders and other organisations were also on hand at the march and rally.

The event was aimed at bringing about awareness, and to raise funds for the construction of a home for victims of violence. The construction of an anti-violence shelter in St Vincent will seek to assist these victims by providing counselling as part of a rehabilitation process and social reform, a release from the organization said.

Johnson said she was pleased with the turnout out at the rally and noted that she’s excited about plans for next year.

“This year, we didn’t have the rain to deter people and we had quite a bit more people. We also had a lot of promotion going on in the media, so that is what helped us out,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson said when they held the first march and rally in Kingstown last year, area representatives turned out, but that was not the case this year.

“We had the different political sides represented last year, but this year we didn’t have any. We thought that the area representatives would have come out. We did invite them, but they didn’t come out,” Johnson said.

Leaders of the opposition New Democratic Party, including president Arnhim Eustace, vice presidents Godwin Friday and Major St Clair Leacock took part in the event last year.

Government minister Frederick Stephenson gave brief remarks at last year’s event.

Johnson said the main aim of the organisation is to advocate against crime and violence, gender based violence and violence against children.

She mentioned that their message for this year is about the organisation meeting people where they are, and analysing the different resources and agencies that are working to fight these issues.

According to Johnson, a conference is being planned for next year, which, she said, will bring together “key agencies” on some critical topics.

“We really want to find out what are these issues and reach people where they are…,” Johnson said.

Johnson further stated that they are going to work with different organisations to come up with activities for students.

One such link will be with the St Vincent Diaspora Committee of New York to plan an essay competition with the Community College.

For 2014, Johnson revealed that their march will take place in West St George. She said they will be marching from the Glen community to the Calliaqua playing field, where the rally will be held.

“Our mission is to reach people where they are. We have done Kingstown and Sion Hill. We are heading further now.”

She added that they are also looking to move away from the soca and calypso genres and move towards more reggae.

“We found this year, because of the certain type of music, it generates some behaviours that we really don’t want,” Johnson said.

Johnson thanked all the persons who helped with the event and the expressed gratitude to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, especially Commissioner Miller, for staying until the end of the event.(KW)

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