St James’ Police posts being used as resource centres
The police posts that are to be established in several volatile St James communities will not be primarily for policing, as based on plans outlined by the Social Development Commission (SDC), they will also serve as community resource centres.
Under an initiative being undertaken by the SDC in partnership with USAID COMET II and the Poverty Reduction Programme II, resource centres are now being established in Bogue, Lilliput, Cambridge and Mt Carey communities.
According to Carolyn Brown-James, the SDC's community development officer for St James, despite the reputation of some of the communities, the police posts will not be for hard-core policing. They were, instead, designed to build a greater relationship between the police and residents.
"The posts will be a place where the police can come and relate to citizens," said Brown-James. "So it is not so much that they are going to be doing policing activities but will be there building relationships."
Brown-James further noted that a committee will also be set up at each resource centre to manage the affairs of the communities, as well as to establish a community business to enable the neighbourhoods to become self-sustainable.
Already, the Ramble Hill Citizens' Association in Bogue, the Barrett Town Police Youth Club in Barrett Town, and the Lilliput Rovers in Lilliput have the requisite plans in place to manage the businesses.
"Bogue has chosen to do a business where they will focus on shoemaking, tailoring, and so on," said Brown-James. "Cambridge will do an after-school care programme, and Mt Carey is linking poultry rearing with entertainment. Also, Lilliput has a gym that will be tied with a life skills programme to teach conflict resolution and more."
According to Brown-James, the enterprises, which have already been registered, are to become long-standing initiatives aimed at promoting community growth.
"The SDC wants to build long-standing structures in communities that are solid, and let them see themselves as long-operating businesses. We keeping them business minded, making them participate in income-generating projects," said Brown-James.
With unattached youngsters believed to be a part of
St James' horrifying crime problem, which has resulted in more than 130 murders since the start of the year, it is believed that social intervention programmes such as the SDC/USAID COMET II/the Poverty Reduction Programme II, could go a long way in restoring law and order and bringing new hope to the various communities.