By Paul Dobbyn
GERARD Ndagijimana, a parishioner of St Paul’s, Woodridge, had an alarming story to share with a gathering about community safety in Logan last week.
The Logan Assembly, organised by the Queensland Community Alliance (QCA) and strongly supported by the local Catholic community, was held on July 7 at Crestmead’s St Francis College.
Mr Ndagijimana said his wife Mary was accosted by several young people and robbed as she walked home from an evening service at St Paul’s at Easter last year.
He told the more than 300 people at the assembly that his wife had been too frightened to tell him the whole story for a couple of days.
“It was only when I asked why she wasn’t using her phone, she told me some young adults, both boys and girls, had snatched her handbag and taken everything – her phone, wallet and important cards,” Mr Ndagijimana said.
“I was about to call the police … but she said: ‘Please, please don’t; I don’t want to be involved in any troubles with those people’.
“She said reporting them to the police and putting them in trouble with the security forces would instigate some forms of revenge on her, if they were to be free to walk around the area again.”
Mr Ndagijimana’s story was one of several shared at the assembly which included politicians, police, and representatives from various faiths, unions and community organisations. The assembly discussed the creation of safe havens, ways to improve public transport and creating educational opportunities.
QCA community organiser Devett O’Brien said “the buzz in the assembled crowd was electric as we heard stories of hard times and gained hope from the commitments given by our decision-makers to improve conditions for the future”.
“There was a great representation from Brisbane archdiocese, both locally from St Paul’s, Woodridge, and from across the rest of the archdiocese,” he said.
Dean of St Stephen’s Cathedral Fr David Pascoe, who represented Brisbane archdiocese, said the archdiocese had been involved with the QCA since its inception two years ago.
“The archdiocese is committed to assisting the community in Logan in any way we can,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said politicians and the local business community made commitments to work towards achieving better outcomes for Logan residents.
“In terms of creating safe havens, local businesses will commit to reporting 100 per cent of any violence, hate or crime,” he said.
“A working group comprising State Government and Logan City councillors committed to finding innovative local public transport solutions by February next year and report back to the next Logan Assembly on March 10 in 2016.”