By ALESHA CADET
Tribune Features Reporter
Members of the Deep Creek National Neighbourhood Watch Council (NNWC) have added to their list of duties - with prayer gatherings, car wash events, cleaning initiatives and more.
Marvin RZ Gibson, NNWC president, said: “The Deep Creek NNWC gives voice to everyone and gives strength to our community to help itself, especially trying to get help from anywhere in the midst of a pandemic. It provides a platform for everyone who is invested within a community, regardless of differences or distinctions, to make their presence felt.
"We have some Haitian families in our settlement, and we formed a connection with them, and they are excited to be contributing to our projects. We have foreign residents who saw us conducting the cleanup campaign and the following week they were on the park with us participating in the car wash. This is important to me because it brings people together to interact, establish rapport, share ideas and concerns, and build connections. It unites us as neighbours in our neighbourhood."
The Ministry of National Security, led by Minister Marvin Dames, introduced the NNWC initiative to the island of Eleuthera in January. A group of people, trained by the Royal Bahamas Police Force, went into communities and established NNWC groups to focus on areas such as religious and spiritual awareness, community care and development, crime deterrence and reduction, and youth violence, prevention and empowerment.
Mr Gibson said: “Everyone is aware of what is happening and encouraged to be a part of what is happening. What we found was that persons were tired of the lack of transparency and were discouraged from being apart of associations and organisations and it is our intention to change that mindset from the outset. We enjoy great support because we constantly report to the community about whatever is happening. Prior to the prayer gathering we hosted a community clean-up campaign where we picked up garbage; cans, bottles, debris, and more from the roadsides and verges. It was a great experience to have our community unified behind common causes and created an opportunity for citizens to come together and connect with each other and feel relevant in our community."
Highlights of the prayer gathering community initiative included an opening prayer by Chaplain Young followed by a singing of ’Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus,” and prayers by Mr Gibson and NNWC vice president Miller. Organisers said that afterwards people separated into various teams for specific tasks while volunteers kept them refreshed with food, cool drinks, and water. A total of 19 vehicles were cleaned from the Cape Eleuthera Island School; and a total of $463 was raised.
“COVID-19 has changed everything including the way we look at life, and how we interact with each other. The Deep Creek community united in prayer is a demonstration of our reliance on faith over relishing in fear. The Deep Creek NNWC is driven by our faith in God and the power of prayer. We passionately believe that we must trust Him and put Him first if we are to survive this pandemic. These citizens still need help and we have the manpower, but we need wood and supplies to help them. Much of the jobs have come to a screeching halt as a result of COVID-19 and persons were being fed by the Government Rapid Bahamas Food Programme during the lockdown but persons are still hungry and still need help significantly, especially in our community,” said Mr Gibson.
Mr Gibson said the group is still in need of disposable masks and hand sanitisers to distribute to people who cannot afford to purchase them on Eleuthera.
“Local medical practitioners are telling us that the disposable masks are safer than the cloth masks which are more expensive, and no one should have to choose between eating and wearing a mask. School is also about to reopen and we want to help students with much-needed school supplies. Residents of Deep Creek, Eleuthera, can reach out to me or our community police officer, PC 1311 Brown for a Neighbourhood Watch application form. Friends of Eleuthera, and those wishing to contribute, can contact us at telephone (242) 473-8566 or (242) 801-8510, or on our Facebook page at https://fb.me/DeepCreekNNWC. They can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” said Mr Gibson.
Additional initiatives include the recent distribution of hand sanitisers to residents of more than 30 homes and a team from the Deep Creek NNWC, police, the Department of Environmental Health Services, and local government touring Deep Creek to identify derelict vehicles for transport to the dump site.
“Efforts were being made to have the derelicts removed because, aside from contributing to rodent infestation, they were an eyesore and an environmental hazard,” said Mr Gibson.
More activities will include a Back-To-School community prayer and car wash, and a walkathon.