August Town curfew monitors awarded
Nineteen ‘curfew monitors’ from the August Town community in St Andrew were awarded with certificates on Friday afternoon in a graduation ceremony.
In efforts to combat the recent upsurge of violent crimes in the community, the curfew-monitoring programme was developed to promote community safety and security by ensuring that the youth and other community members are off the streets during curfew hours.
A similar programme was implemented in Denham Town, where monitors were also trained. These monitors were chosen because of their ability to engage children in the community and were selected from the five main districts of August Town - African Gardens, August Town proper, Goldsmith Villa, Hermitage, and Bedward Gardens.
Curfew monitors are trained in several areas, including customer service, childcare and protection, effective parenting, leadership, and dispute resolution and mediation. The project elements will include neighbourhood watch, mentorship programmes and community consultations.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Ealan Powell said, “We must believe that it is possible, but we have to put in the work,”in reference to the programme. He encouraged the participants to be “fearless and to be fair,” reminding them that they are models in their community. Powell expects that the monitors will help to demonstrate the change that they would want in their community, as the “future will be in danger if things do not change”.
A participant in the programme, Jasmine Powell, expressed that she felt “so proud” to be contributing to nation-building efforts. This, she said, will give her an opportunity to contribute to “a better community and a better Jamaica”. Another participant said the training sessions will continue, as a debriefing session on the importance of monitoring, record-keeping and reporting is under way.
Custos of Trelawny Hugh Gentles encouraged participants of the programme to treat others with respect, challenging them “to see themselves as advocates ... and role models of their community who carry themselves with dignity, care and compassion”. Gentles urged monitors to “have a sense of care and humility,” which will transcend to “order, peace and justice in society”.
Minister of Education, Youth and Information Fayval Williams implored the monitors to be guided by their training manuals “from time to time” in order to refresh their memory on procedures. This is to ensure that while engaging with community members, they are mindful to do so in a respectable way while doing their part in ensuring the safety and security in the community.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund, in partnership with the St Andrew Central Division, August Town Police Station, August Town Community Development Council and other stakeholders, have invested in the Police-Supervised Curfew Monitor project as part of a wider strategy of the Government of Jamaica under the zone of special operations, which was initiated back in July 2020.
The curfew-monitoring programme is one of six pillars of the Safe Community Model, which is a framework instituted by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The model will engage and collaborate with citizens in communities to identify and promote community safety as they work with the various stakeholders.