February 13, 2009
Urban League urges gangs to settle feuds

It may be wishful thinking, but the Urban League of Ottley Hall and Edinboro is determined to foster unity between feuding gangs in the two communities and promote positivity among the youths of the areas.{{more}}

“We have to find ways to get them to co-operate,” were the determined words of Sean Frederick, the chairman of the four-year-old organization that was birthed out of a five-a-side football competition, and mushroomed into a full-scale community development organization.

Last Saturday, February 7, at the League’s Community Conference, Frederick was re-elected to serve as the Chairman of the organization that he has led from its inception.

The Conference was held at the newly commissioned Urban League Office, the building that before housed the Edinboro Community Library.

When she addressed the conference, parliamentary representative for West Kingstown René Baptiste said that the success of the Urban League shows what is possible when a community comes together.

As she said in a previous interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Baptiste reaffirmed that she is with the Urban League in their attempt to bring change and uplift the communities, and to erase the negatives of violence that has threatened to destroy the community.

“Despite what you have heard in the media in recent times, the trouble we have had in this community, there is a determination of people within the community to ensure that the stain be removed from Ottley Hall and Edinboro,” she told the conference.

In one of the more recent reports of violence in the communities, Kamal Moore, 21, and 16-year-old Atiba Bess are currently facing murder charges in relation to the December 3, 2008 shooting death of 22-year-old Shereen Clouden.

Clouden, of Edinboro, who is one half of identical twin sisters, was shot in her head at the side of the road in Ottley Hall, at around 9 p.m. Her death is suspected to have been part of an ongoing conflict between youths from the neighbouring communities.

Another concern that the Urban League plans to address is that of young mothers, who, according to Minister Baptiste, need urgent assistance if they are to cope with the enormous challenges of motherhood.

“Children don’t come with a manual, and with younger and younger mothers, it is important that they get some help,” said Baptiste.

Frederick told SEARCHLIGHT that last year a letter was sent to the Ministry of Social Development asking for assistance in putting a programme together to address that situation, but they were unable to get it done last year.

“But this year, they will be working with us on that,” Frederick said.

The Urban League has put forward an extensive work plan for 2009, including starting up a drumming and pan-side, starting a choir and launching an HIV/ AIDS programme in collaboration with the National AIDS Secretariat.

This is in addition to the already successful sporting and environmental programmes that are in existence.

The group is also looking forward to the completion of the playing field that has been started with funding from the Social Investment Foundation (SIF).