Security Minister Says Engaging Youth Critical to Crime Reduction

Jamaica News: Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says Jamaica’s best hope of significantly reducing crime hinges on a positively engaged youth population.

Addressing recruits and senior officers at the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) graduation ceremony in Moneague, St. Ann, on June 9, Dr. Chang said it is against this background that it is so important to give young people the tools “where they can become leaders of tomorrow”.

“You are the hope, the treasures, the agile and skilled of our nation, and today you stand declaring your commitment to maintain law and order and promote peace and citizen security. May you never yield in this stance,” he told the recruits.

The Minister said that Jamaica’s future has never been so precariously dependent on “the capacity of our youth to serve, protect and engage in positivity”.

“With a positively engaged youth population, gangs are starved and the country is served. The cycle of criminality can be broken by the decision to represent and work for justice and peace,” Dr. Chang emphasised.

He said that for the first time in decades, Jamaica is experiencing significant positive changes in critical indicators.

“The fall in unemployment and the expansion of our ports, logistics and shipping sectors have resulted in significant opportunities for new business, infrastructure development and human resource expansion,” Dr. Chang noted.

“Indeed, we are on a path to prosperity as defined in Vision 2030, to see Jamaica the place of choice, to live, raise families and do business,” he added.

Dr. Chang pointed out that the face of security is changing, and that new threats from organised crime, environmental hazards and sociopolitical shifts have created new risk environments within which security forces operate.

“The security of our cities and communities is now more heavily impacted by external influences. As communication technologies and advances in transportation have expanded at an exponential rate, the contingent effects have been varied and complex forms of criminality, utilising scientific advances to mal-intent,” he argued.

“Jamaica is not excluded from these phenomena. Our porous borders, unique location, language and progressive culture have attracted unique development opportunities. However, these particular characteristics have also made Jamaica attractive to organised crime to include illicit trade and human trafficking,” the Minister said.

Dr. Chang noted that the trade in drugs for guns between Latin America, North and Central America has also significantly impacted peace, public order and the quality of life in the Jamaican society.

He said the National Security Ministry is well aware of the social impetus weighing on criminality in “our most volatile communities”.

“That is why, through the Community Renewal Programme, in collaboration with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), we have identified 20 of our island’s most volatile communities and have designed specific and targeted social programmes that seek to engage youth in productive and legal enterprises,” Dr. Chang said.

Some 232 recruits graduated and are now qualified for programmes through the JNSC.


Source: JIS News

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