The ugly side of champs - Past students praise 'Peace for Champs' initiative

April 01, 2017
Students from Kingston, St Catherine and St Ann representing the National Transformation Programme lobby for peace at the opening ceremony of the 100th staging of Champs in 2010.
Townsend's arm also bears the scars.
Rodrique Townsend shows the scars from clashes with other boys during past Champs.

Rodrique Townsend, a former student of Jamaica College, now wears scars that he got during the Champs season in 2006.

"Them stab and beat me just because me a wear mi blue shirt while walking home one evening," he recounted.

"It was late and me did just done extra-curricular activities. Mi me just past the standpipe when three youth rush me. Them stab mi inna me back and pon me hand."

Following the incident, he said he had to be treated by a doctor and was forced to miss some school days.

"Round them time yah again, me nearly dead. Me remember when me and some friends deh a Cross Roads, and round 50 man weh inna purple wah kill we. Man them did have cutlass, choppers and hockey stick. So, wah you feel we do? Tek weh wiself," he shared.

Although not personally involved in violent clashes during high school, Kingston College past student Gavin Patterson said he has seen the ugly side of Champs.

"During my time at school, I witnessed stampedes and heard about violence, but I was never affected," he said.

Based on experiences in those violent years, the past students are showering praises for the 'Peace for Champs' initiative for its role in reducing conflicts among rival schools in the Corporate Area.

"I believe that my principal, Mr [Ruel] Reid had a lot to do with it, and then the police took it up," Townsend said.

Patterson also believes that some positive strides have been made in reducing confrontations between students at this time of the year.

"They must be doing something positive because the violence among schools has reduced because there are hardly any reports of high school clashes or fights in Half-Way Tree or Downtown or even the transport centre, which are the hot spots for students to mingle," Patterson said.

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