Jason Henzel, owner of Jakes Village and founder of BREDS Foundation (a non-profit charity) fulfilled his promise to Lou DAmore, Founder and President, International Institute for Peace through Tourism and to the Treasure Beach community on September 21, 2008, International Day of Peace, with the launch of the IIPT Desmond Henry Global Peace Park in St. Elizabeth , Jamaica .
Henzell expressed his commitment to incorporate an IIPT Peace Park in the Treasure Beach Sports Development Project at the first IIPT Caribbean Community Tourism Retreat in June 2008 in Kingston , Jamaica . Dedication of the IIPT Desmond Henry Global Peace Park also marks the launch of a Jamaica Peace Parks Campaign with a goal of 11 other Jamaican communities dedicating a Park to Peace.
It is important to note that the launch of the initiative on the United Nations designated Day of Peace takes its reference from the Peace Park Tool Kit protocol. The initiative was embraced by a cheerful group of community folks, combined with Henzells invited guests who witnessed the planting of 50 trees of mixed variety, including palms and Poincianas, around the edge of a natural pond. It is envisioned that benches will be installed for seating to watch natural wildlife – birds, ducks etc. This peace park will become the ideal venue for conflict resolution, a place for the youth to meet, play and stage special events.
The program was convened by Mr. Henzell with a special welcome; Diana McIntyre-Pike, President, IIPT Caribbean and Chairman/CEO Countrystyle Community Tourism Network gave the keynote address. Mrs Judy Schoenbein, Chairman , Jamaica Hotel & Tourist Association, South Coast , Chapter offered greetings on behalf of the JHTA. Sharon Parris-Chambers, IIPT Caribbean, PR Manager and Founder Temple of Inner Peace dedicated the park with a peace prayer. Mr. Henzell offered closing remarks and Ms. Shelia Hamilton gave the closing prayer. Mrs. Henry, sister-in-law to Desmond Henry was on hand to represent the family.
During her presentation, Mrs. McIntyre-Pike shared a brief history of her partnership with Desmond Henry, she said today indeed marks another special day on the calendar of landmarks for Treasure Beach in memory of one of Jamaicas and the Caribbeans most visionary leaders, an ambassador for this community and the south coast Desmond Henry a son of the soil and a pioneer of community tourism who branded Treasure Beach as the Home of Community Tourism as this is where we started our programme together. I say our as both of us bonded together our vision for communities participating and benefiting from tourism in 1978 when he was a Director of Tourism.
The fulfilment of the first IIPT Desmond Henry Global Peace Park in St. Elizabeth , Jamaica .
IPT Desmond Henry Peace Park is just one of the many outcomes and deliverables of the IIPT Caribbean Community Tourism Retreat. Under the astute and dynamic leadership of Diana McIntyre-Pike, the IIPT Caribbean Jamaican delegation will be joined by the Ministry of Tourisms Representative at the first IIPT European Conference to be held October 21 -24 in Leeuwarden, Holland, where the team will showcase Jamaica as the Home of Community Tourism.
The rationale for peace parks shared in the peace park tool kit, states that the Peace Park Project was initiated with the Peace Parks across Canada project commemorating Canada s 125th birthday as a nation. The project has grown to now include over 450 Peace Parks dotting the globe. Our goal is to have 2,000 Peace Parks circling the globe by the year 2010. (IIPT)
Sharon Parris-Chambers asked the audience to repeat affirmations of peace and make these their own: I will be an ambassador of peace reflecting the credo of the peaceful traveller where ever I travel and in conclusion, Let us resolve to be the change we wish to see in the world; Walk in Peace and go in love, and so it is, Namaste.
About Mark Lee
Editor, author and writer with career spanning print, radio, television and new media.