In New Era of Jamaican Justice: Joe Issa Shares Caribbean Guide

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As a new era of Jamaican justice takes center stage in public discourse, Mediator Joe Issa, whose aim is to inspire young people, shares a conflict resolution guide which has been prepared for the Caribbean and Latin America, stating “it is useful for the early detection of a looming conflict and what to do about it before it escalates into violence.”

Submitted: February 10, 2017

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Submitted: February 10, 2017

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As a new era of Jamaican justice takes center stage in public discourse, Mediator Joe Issa, whose aim is to inspire young people, shares a conflict resolution guide which has been prepared for the Caribbean and Latin America, stating “it is useful for the early detection of a looming conflict and what to do about it before it escalates into violence.”

“Most of the time we can see it coming but because of our untrained eye we let it slip, only to learn later that the conflict had indeed escalated into a fight resulting in loss of life,” says Issa, adding, “If we can nip it in the bud it won’t go any further.”

As a civic leader and qualified conflict mediator, Issa famously mediated a conflict which had the potential of unsettling Jamaica and its governance structure, when the powerful 13 chambers of commerce threatened to march to parliament if a tax on street lights, which the business community would have to pay, was not rolled back.

Having been chosen to represent the chambers in their dispute with the government, Issa successfully negotiated the rollback of the tax.

The guide which Issa shares, “Early Warning and Response Systems Design for Social Conflicts” is published by the Organization of American States (OAS) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

It recognizes the critical role played by improved management capacity of national institutions in promoting peaceful dispute and conflict resolution.

“The guide will help public officials and civil society organisations create prevention mechanisms and improve conflict resolution in order to avoid the escalation of violence that could threaten individuals, groups and democratic governance altogether.

“Early warning and response systems are just one of the many existing tools in the arsenal of actions to prevent and address social conflict because it is more effective to invest in prevention and not pay the high political, social and human costs that these entail,” OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, is quoted as saying.

Describing the critical importance of the guide, Luis Almagro said “it is the key in times of uncertainty and when there is a slowdown in economic activity, but social demands are still on the rise.” Admitting he has not read the entire report, Issa says, “Based on what I have read so far and judging on the comments of others, I think the guide is something worth looking at… we may learn from it.”

The guide, which was launched at the OAS headquarters in Washington, D.C. in March last year is intended for national and local governments, as well as civil society organizations in the region, according to its website.

“It offers a system for getting ahead of the outbreak and spreading of conflicts, with the premise that it is better to work in preventing conflict before it erupts and worsens.

“Early Warning and Response Systems (EWRS) process data and issue warnings, provide recommendations on when and how to proceed and help identify institutions responsible for carrying out the responses,” it said.


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