The International Ecumenical Peace Convocation (IEPC) in the Jamaican capital, Kingston, in May 2011 will be a testimony of solidarity for the culture of peace that churches are trying to build on the island, says the Rev. Paul Gardner, the president of the Jamaica Council of Churches, one of the event’s hosts. “It will give enthusiasm and momentum to the groups that are working assiduously for peace in the various communities, that’s what I think it will do for Jamaica,” says Gardner, who has been president of the Moravian Church in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands since 2005 and was elected president of the worldwide Moravian Church in 2008. Gardner was interviewed here recently during a planning event for the convocation, which is being organized by the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Caribbean Council of Churches. “The IEPC will bring a tremendous testimony of solidarity for the culture of peace we are trying to build in Jamaica,” says Gardner. He spoke about Kingston’s “garrison communities” where, because one or another political party can almost guarantee 100 percent support, they often ignore criminality. Earlier in the year security forces tried to move into the Tivoli Gardens district, resulting in a state of emergency being declared. Such communities are unique to Kingston, he says. “Political parties turn a blind eye to criminality in those communities. The country was being held hostage,” says Gardner. “Politicians need to dismantle the garrison communities so that people feel free to vote for who they want.” Churches, he says, needed to be proactive in such situations. “I think it is important that churches take far more interest in the development of communities, far more interest in what is happening to people in depressed inner city communities,” he states. “I don’t think we can have the luxury of not being involved or believing that nothing will happen.”