Sectoral Debate: I have transformed my constituency- Chang
ONCE HOME to some of the most feared communities in western Jamaica, the face of North West St James has changed significantly over the last decade due mainly to investment in human resource, Member of Parliament Dr Horace Chang has said.
Chang told legislators in the House of Representatives that the experiences in crime fighting in the community should be copied and replicated in other areas.
"While the homicide rate remains a very challenging problem in St James, and throughout Jamaica, and requires not only the attention of the ministry of national security and other, I think we did work in the constituency that should be looked at as the kind of work that needs to be done in urban Jamaica to deal with the problem," Chang said.
Contributing to the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, Chang noted that crime is not just a police problem, but one that requires a multi-sectoral approach. He said when he became MP, an average of 100 homicides per year were being committed in the constituency.
Reduction in murders
"I can say today, although the homicide rate remains high, after four months, North West St James has experienced fewer than six murders and almost all of them relate to domestic issues. We have been able to reduce the homicide rate in North West St James by dramatic numbers because we have been able to coordinate our efforts, not only police work, but major work done in improving the character of the community," Chang said.
The constituency comprises areas such as Flankers, Glendevon and Norwood, and Chang said that when he became MP 12 years ago, the divide between rich and poor was stark. "A few years ago, in my younger years, many persons were afraid to enter certain areas," he said.
"I inherited over 10,000 families who were considered squatters, and some in this house on that side classified them as irredeemable and without hope. I was of no such opinion, and today, there is a legal framework backed by extensive infrastructure for all of these families to be proud homeowners," Chang said.
In addition, Chang said his communities have, per capita, one of the higher tertiary attendance rates in Jamaica.
"From the heart of Norwood, the president of Jamaica Medical Students Association Nicole Nation, one of our star students and honour graduates who has made us proud. We also have Sujae Boswel, UN National Student Representative and deputy head boy of Munro College. I could spend the rest of this presentation itemising the achievements of my students, but I wouldn't want to incur the jealousy of my colleagues," Chang said.