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Published:Monday | December 12, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Government to implement LEGS programme for youth

The Government will, early next year, commence implementation of a Work to Learn, Earn, Give and Save (LEGS) programme for youth, which will incorporate training, volunteerism and saving.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the initiative will be done through a collaboration with the Jamaica Defence Force.

Giving the keynote address at the 2016 National Volunteer Awards Banquet of the Council of Voluntary Social Services at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston last Thursday, he said the LEGS programme will be a formal way for the State to have all unattached youth in a programme where they are preparing to earn, while also giving back to society and learning to save.

"There will be a special programme of bringing in vulnerable, unattached young people where they will be getting a skill, a stipend and also giving service in critical national areas; and a part of that stipend (will go) to a compulsory saving programme," the prime minister noted.

Holness explained that LEGS is in line with a policy direction on employment by the Government, which dictates that all Jamaicans must be engaged in a meaningful, rewarding activity.

New national security adviser ready to provide guidance to security council

The position of the national security adviser will be critical to enabling coordination among the various security agencies towards achieving benchmarks set out in Jamaica's standby agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

This is according to recently appointed national security adviser to the prime minister, Major General Antony Anderson.

Anderson said his office will be able to implement broad-based strategies for medium- to long-term objectives and create important synergies that are usually difficult for other agencies, due to the pressing nature of crime and other security concerns.

"Security is broader than just crime. In that sense, we have to look beyond what's facing us currently to what is facing our partners, the rest of the world and our region," he pointed out.

Additionally, Anderson said his office, supported by a group of technical personnel, will be providing guidance to the National Security Council and support to the prime minister's decisions on national security.

"The prime minister has made it clear that he has particular interest in the safety and security of citizens, and it's important that he has technical advice as he makes decisions in the national interest on security," he said.

Justice Reform Programme gets boost

The Justice Reform Programme has been further boosted by an additional European Union (EU) grant of $3.3 billion (€22 million).

The provision, which has been allocated under the justice component of the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), is the single largest by the EU to the programme.

Some $3 billion, to be managed by the Government, has been earmarked for budgetary support, while the EU will administer the remaining $275.4 million that will be channelled into two critical areas.

A total of $137.7 million will fund technical assistance, evaluation and audits, communications and visibility services, while the remaining $137.7 million will be offered to civil society organisations through calls for proposals to contribute to improving access to justice, with emphasis on vulnerable groups.

The overall provision aims to assist with the Government's implementation of the Justice Reform Programme over the next four years as part of its ongoing undertaking to create a secure, cohesive and just society.

An agreement formalising the provision was signed during a ceremony at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service in Kingston on December 8.

The signatories included Justice Minister Delroy Chuck; Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw; and head of the EU Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska.

Chuck, in welcoming the provision, said it represents more than half of the administration's funding requirement to advance the reform programme up to 2020.

Noting that Jamaica "stands on the cusp of a watershed year in the justice system," he said several activities are slated to be undertaken in 2017.