Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Security expert supports proposed mandatory JDF service for unattached youth

Published:Friday | March 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Robert Finzi-Smith

Security expert Robert Finzi-Smith has lauded Prime Minister Andrew Holness' push to create a programme requiring all unattached youth between 18 and 24 to complete one year of mandatory service with the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). Holness says that resource constraints have delayed its tabling.

Finzi-Smith, a former army officer, explained that one year might not be sufficient, but the JDF would provide a steady source of discipline and allow the Government to have a record of the young men. "In this regard, I have not one critical word to say. I would hope that in due course, the funds are found to get it jumping," noted Finzi-Smith.

He continued, "My suggestion to him (Andrew Holness) would be while we wait for that, let's go after the ones you can get now by creating more funding for the cadet corps so that we can absorb more of them."

For Holness, the policy would be a social intervention strategy aimed at empowering young men.

"I think the country should wake up to this understanding that the gangs are actively recruiting our young men and giving them opportunities and alternatives," Finzi-Smith argued. "The Government has to be proactive in this regard and ensure that we don't lose our young men to the gangs."