Jamaica News: Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the rehabilitation of more than 70 police stations islandwide is part of a bigger plan to significantly improve the working conditions of members of the security forces.
In a recent interview with JIS News, the Minister also pointed to the $1.9-billion investment to build the JCF Mobile West facility in St. James, citing it as evidence of “this Government’s commitment to investing in our security”.
“The Ministry of National Security will follow up our policy support with significant investment in police infrastructure in the West,” the Minister said.
“The JCF Mobile West facility will provide the region with increased security presence. With the agility of the force improved, social development initiatives like Goals for Peace, will have the peaceful climate needed to effect change in our communities,” he added.
Dr. Chang said that in the wake of the State of Public Emergency, the continued execution of targeted social-intervention programmes in St. James remains a top priority.
“We must recall that the State of Public Emergency is part of a larger operational strategy to Clear, Hold and Build. The Build aspect is what the Goals for Peace Initiative represents,” the Minister explained.
“When a certain level of control has been established, then second-tier strategies such as roadwork, community development projects, and social-intervention initiatives have the capacity to build and grow,” he noted.
The Ministry of National Security/Citizen Security and Justice Programme, in partnership with other key social intervention agencies in St. James, has been implementing the Goals for Peace programme in the parish, which has engaged approximately 1,160 unattached and at-risk male youth from 15 communities, to date.
“In the case of Goals for Peace, the programme aims to use the unifying agency of sports to bridge the gap between young men and positive attitudes and behaviour,” Dr. Chang said.
“The rationale behind this approach is the creation of an environment that promotes bonds and friendships, which will, in turn, starve the hostile environments that encourage division, strife and violent disputes. It is harder to be violent to someone you laughed and played with,” the Minister argued.
Dr. Chang said that when social and economic conditions change, it encourages the people within these spaces to change too.
“A peaceful Jamaica is our aim, and it’s a reality that I believe is achievable in our lifetime. It is easier to talk through disputes when young people learn these skills on the field or on the sidelines of a friendly game, rather than in courtrooms, police stations or detention centres,” the Minister said.