Dunoon Justice & Peace Report

 

 

Justice & Peace Dunoon

 Ceartas agus Sith

 

Labouring in The Vineyard in the hope of making a difference.

 

Our small group works constantly with our MP Alan Reid(Lib Dem) who is generally on the side of the angels. He responds to requests to sign EDMs and has supported our campaigns on Palestinian Rights, Human Trafficking and EU Trade reform.

Unfortunately we have been unable to convert him to our way of thinking on nuclear weapons. We live surrounded by NATO Bases, weapons stores and  nuclear submarines, whose sinister shapes we see regularly on the sea within our sight. Mercifully the submarines don’t seem to work very well and are often out of service!

 

We have been in touch with Strathclyde Police about our fears for increased human sex trafficking which may accrue with the advent of the Commonwealth Games and also our concerns that in spite of Police raids, no prosecutions have taken place and victims of agricultural, sexual and domestic exploitation are usually returned to their country of origin and therefore exposed to re-enslavement. This is ongoing but thus far only good intentions have been expressed. We are in contact with Anti-slavery International whom we endeavour to support both financially and by publicising their work.

 

As always we are handicapped by lack of funds and our members generally have to put their hands in their pockets to fund our activities. We have worked with other organisations on asylum seekers and we have managed to harbour one such down here. Happily she has now obtained permission to stay in Scotland. She keeps in touch and comes and visits from time to time.

 

Dunoon Fair Trade Committee is an offshoot of our group but like ourselves suffers from paucity of numbers and lack of younger members. We have recently managed to organise with it upwards of sixty cards to our MEPs urging them to support EU trade reform but the response has been minimal. The fact that one of them is a former president of NFU doesn’t bode well for our efforts but we soldier on.

 

Over the last nine months we have been increasingly concerned by the downgrading of our health services by stealth and we have organised two public meetings with health officials, Local Authority personnel, councillors, community councillors , etc. and the public, chaired by our MSP as was, Jim Mather. The results were disappointing so we submitted a Freedom of Information request to the CEO of the Health Board. This has proved to be a difficult process and we are still awaiting further clarification of the misinformation that resulted and further correspondence; in the absence of positive responses we will submit a formal complaint and, if necessary, appeal to the Information Commissioner. We have worked with other concerned members of the community and achieved quite a lot of publicity. There is evidence in the Community Health Partnership minutes that we are worrying them. There is also evidence of a greater effort to engage the public but this tends to involve the usual suspects who appear on all the committees and “project boards” and who fail dismally to keep the public informed!

 

The effort involved in this has almost taken us over but it has raised our profile in the community and brought us new (ecumenical) membership - especially in the campaign to re-open Dunoon Hospice.  As always we try to begin and end our meetings with meaningful prayer and hope that our miniscule efforts are slotting into the great scheme of things.


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