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Daley to assist ex-cons with cash and training

Published:Friday | July 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Denise Daley

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

UPBEAT ABOUT its possibility to reduce the level of recidivism among her constituents, Eastern St Catherine Member of Parliament Denise Daley has said a programme is to be rolled out in August which will involve giving ex-convicts a lump sum of money to stay out of trouble.

"In my effort to bring the crime rate in my constituency to zero, I will be assisting five ex-prisoners every six months with a bed, a two-burner stove, $5,000 and training in skill areas," Daley, a government backbencher, said during her contribution to the 2014/2015 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

"The end result will be that, within the next five years, there will be no repeat offenders as they will be empowered with the tools to make them take responsibility for themselves and become worthwhile citizens of Jamaica," added.

Daley's Eastern St Catherine constituency is made up of tough areas such as Gravel Heights, Windsor Heights, Central Village, and De la Vega City. The MP did not indicate where the funds would come from to finance her 'keep-out-of-prison project', but made it clear that she has been relying on her allocation from the Constituency Development Fund and state sources like the Jamaica Social Investment Fund to reorientate her constituents.

"It is my intention to organise training for individuals from volatile communities in areas such as ethics, résumé writing, and interview skills, in an effort to empower them," Daley told the House.

Skills training

She said a skills training programme has been launched in Windsor Heights, which is being done with the support of the Community Security and Justice Programme, Social Development Commission, and HEART Trust/NTA.

"The first course of study is masonry (level one) as we are preparing our communities for opportunities in the logistics hub and the Economic Zone. Twenty-five students were registered and are now pursuing the course, with the oldest student being over 50 years of age," Daley said.

Noting that many activities from the much-touted logistics hub will touch the Caymanas area, which sits on the doorstep of her constituency, Daley said preparation is under way to ensure the people benefit from the expected economic activities.

"We intend to use the Central Village Community Centre to further train individuals to be a part of this economic zone," Daley said.

"We identified a place ready and large enough to accommodate almost 200 persons in a call centre operation, in a crime-free environment. I am asking private entities to reinvest in Spanish Town, the old capital of our country. There are a lot of young people who can benefit from this opportunity," Daley said.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com