Bunting wants more social intervention to aid crime fight
National Security Minister Peter Bunting yesterday made a case for the expansion of social-intervention programmes as a critical component of the fight against crime, arguing that the gains from empowering at-risk youth through training and employment usually extends to their communities and the nation.
"Jamaica's crime-and-violence problems have roots in the breakdown in critical social institutions, and addressing these social deficiencies must be part of any enlightened strategy to improve the safety and security of our citizens," he declared.
Addressing the signing cere-mony for a memorandum of understanding between the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) and Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) at Port Bustamante, for the training of 30 at-risk youth as stevedores, Bunting said there was wide-spread recognition of its effectiveness.
"There has been a call from many quarters in the society for greater use of social-intervention programmes, to stem the rise of crime and violence in the society.
The truth is that a significant amount of work is being done by agencies of the State, along with private organisations, community-based agencies and faith-based agencies, especially the church. However, much more needs to be done, and can be done," the security minister said.
SEARCHING FOR SOLUTIONS
"This is the kind of partnership between government, business and the community that is needed to address the problems we face as a society. The Ministry of National Security, [along with] its departments and agencies, is keen to develop more partnerships like this, and I am inviting other organisations in the private sector to join us developing other creative solutions to counter some of the underlying factors driving crime and violence in Jamaica."
Reversing the level of crime and violence in the country is not a short-term exercise and is not going to be achieved by the security forces acting on their own, the minister admitted.
"It requires the committed and consistent effort of all sectors of the society, working in a united effort, to remove the conditions that foster lawlessness and criminality. It requires our working together on initiatives like this apprenticeship programme, to create pathways to a more lawful way of life for more of our citizens."
Under the programme, 30 youngsters will be exposed to five weeks of classroom training and six weeks of apprenticeship training, which will include practical and true-to-life applications of the shipping industry through exposure to the Kingston Container Terminal and Kingston Wharves Limited.
Describing the alliance as important and timely, Denise Adams, senior labour market case officer with the CSJP, said the invaluable experience in the long run will certainly make the trainees much more marketable.
The total cost for the programme is $10.1 million of which the CSJP will contribute $5.6 million while SAJ will be co-sponsoring $4.5 million.