Sat | Sep 22, 2018

LaTouche: Improve security of all citizens, not only returnees

Published:Friday | July 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Percival LaTouche, president of the Jamaica Association for the Resettlement of Returning Residents, believes that the Government should not pay special attention to the safety of returning residents.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade announced on Tuesday that a task force would be established to address security and safety concerns related to returning residents and their holistic reintegration into the Jamaican society.

"We have to be careful how we treat with these things. We can't make people think that we are segregating Jamaicans from returning residents. If you ever make it look like you're protecting returning residents, they will be in more danger than they are in now," LaTouche told The Gleaner yesterday.

He acknowledged that at least seven returnees have been killed since January but insisted that the security of all citizens should be addressed in a comprehensive manner. LaTouche suggested that Customs-related issues should take precedence.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said via a press release that the task force will be chaired by State Minister Pearnel Charles Jr and would comprise returning residents, the ministry's Diaspora Affairs Department, and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The ministry added that the police are developing standard operating procedures to address the safety of returnees.

Karina Powell-Hood, senior superintendent of police, explained, "The community safety officer is the point of contact with returning residents and is sensitised to address their concerns." She added that the JCF is compiling a security and safety handbook for returning residents.