ZOSO can significantly reduce crime - Chuck
Justice Minister Delroy Chuck believes that the zones of special operations (ZOSOs) have the capability to lower the crime rate, touting communities such as Grants Pen in St Andrew for maintaining law and order.
Yesterday, the minister lauded the kind gesture of the United Parcel Service (UPS) Foundation, which donated US$25,000 to the Stella Maris Foundation, noting that such interventions can greatly aid in transforming the lives of individuals and the wider community.
"When I came into the constituency (Grants Pen) in 1995, it was literally a war zone. We identified at least six gangs literally fighting each other at the corner where the foundation is now. Over the last 15 years, however, where we used to have 20 or more murders for the year, the average is probably one, and there are many years when we have had no murders," he said.
"That's one of the success stories we are trying to replicate across the island. When we have ZOSO now, we are trying to put that in place where stakeholders in these communities can take over from the dons and the gangs that oftentimes overrun law abiding citizens."
Chuck said that as the member of parliament for the Grants Pen community, he has seen a number of young people develop themselves and move up the social ranks.
"The only disappointment is that as soon as you train them and they get a job, they move out and another set comes. You see them in Portmore, you see them in Havendale. So it's a work in progress. We are constantly assisting persons," said the minister.
Beverly Lopez, chairman of the Stella Maris Foundation, noted that the grant would be used to help youth from underserved communities acquire skills that would make them more employable as well as enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities for self-employment.
"We are thankful to the UPS Foundation for partnering with us to make a difference in our youth community. This grant will go a long way in helping improve the quality of life of the residents of Grants Pen," she said.