Wed | Mar 29, 2023

JCF welcomes Project STAR to Westmoreland

Published:Saturday | January 28, 2023 | 12:09 AM
SSP Wayne Josephs
SSP Wayne Josephs

Senior Superintendent Wayne Josephs, head of the Westmoreland Police Division, is underscoring the social and economic benefits to come from the intervention of Project STAR in the parish’s troubled communities as the security forces work to contain crime.

Project STAR, Social Transformation And Renewal, is a social and economic development initiative created by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) in partnership with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and driven by communities to bring about societal transformation, through targeted interventions in about 20 under-resourced residential areas of Jamaica.

“Myself and my team welcome any initiative that will help to positively impact behaviour and lives of the persons we police in Westmoreland,” Josephs said.

“Project STAR is one of those projects that can benefit the community and by extension impact the way we do law enforcement. There are some troubled communities within Westmoreland and while we have been making some impact, Project STAR can take it much further. What I like about Project STAR is, it’s not just about social intervention; there is also an economic programme that is connected to it,” he points out.

“We look forward to partnering with Project STAR and to identifying the particular areas that Project Star will be operating in. It can only work to the benefit of the parish and make law enforcement a little easier,” he said.

The recent surge in crime in Westmoreland has been blamed on the economic fallout from the decline in sugar production in the parish.

Communities such as Grange Hill, Savanna-la-Mar, Bull Savannah, Trollo, Kendal, Grange, Townhead, Sterling, Banbury and Delveland depended on the industry. In its heyday, the industry employed nearly 3,000 persons during the season, a similar number to those working on the private properties of some 1,700 farmers. The sugar industry also created indirect employment.

Senior Superintendent Josephs opines that employment is one of the solutions to the crime problem in the parish.

Meanwhile Saffrey Brown, project director at Project STAR says the project has already completed community mapping and research for the town of Savanna-la-Mar to better understand the issues the communities face.

“We are now at the stage where we are doing community engagement and meeting with critical stakeholders such as the JCF, and the reception to the initiatives outlined has been positive,” she says.

The second step, Brown continues, will include early engagement and activation planning with critical stakeholders. She notes that the intention is to hear from the community to validate STAR’s research findings and begin building relationships in the parish.

Brown explains that Project STAR will be working with local stakeholders already engaged in projects, including NGOs, developmental agencies, service providers and government agencies, in order to identify the right partners in the planning and delivery of Project STAR.

“The goal is to have the community [members] sharing the challenges in the parish and suggesting solutions to these challenges.” Brown explains that at the project’s five-year mark, communities are expected to demonstrate ownership of the solutions.

Project STAR will be funded by a mixed financing model consisting of profits from listing on the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange, corporate donations, diaspora crowdfunding and multilateral funding.