The Ministries of National Security and Education, are working to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to address the problem of violence in schools.
The agreement, which was announced by National Security Minister, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, on Thursday June 18 at the Kiwanis Club of North St. Andrew meeting, held at the Police Officers Club, will go beyond the provisions under the Safe Schools Programme.
“We used to talk about safety in schools. We have to talk about violence in schools now, simply because the schools, to a large extent, are mirrors of the society, the communities from which the students come,” Minister Nelson said.
Noting the extent of the problem, he asked: “Who would have thought that a principal in a school would line up six boys and say to them, ‘I am going to search you for weapons and turn his back to pick up something and one of them takes out a knife and stab him. Who would have thought that such atrocity could occur in a school?”
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (left), having a light discussion with Jasper Burnett (right) and Ian Forte, members of the Kiwanis Club of North St. Andrew, at the club’s meeting, held at the Police Officers Club, Hope Road, on June 19.
“We have incidents where weapons have been found in the bags of five-year olds in pre-school, where the weapon is placed there for the person, the father or somebody, to come at an opportune time to retrieve it,” he cited.
As it relates to addressing crime on a national scale, Minister Nelson said that there are plans to look at strengthening border patrol off the country’s coastline.
“We are going to look at our borders. A lot (of the guns) are coming in from the United States and from Haiti. We have a system in place now to deal with that Haiti situation. It is effective in stemming the flow of guns from there to Jamaica,” he noted.
Other measures include accelerating the mandatory registration of subscriber information for cellular phone users in Jamaica and the implementation of a vehicle tracking system for all police cars. “I want to know where every police car is day and night. The Commissioner of Police and I have agreed to reinstitute bike patrols and bicycle patrol in appropriate areas,” Senator Nelson said.
Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson (right), is greeted by Second Vice President of the Kiwanis Club of North St. Andrew, Rohan Dawkins, at the club’s meeting, held at the Police Officers Club, Hope Road, on June 19.
In addition, focus will be placed on ensuring a competent and resourceful police force, with adequate training facilities provided; implementing the National Identification System; and revamping of the emergency number 119.
For the period January to June this year, 4,778 major crimes were reported, which represent a 19 per cent increase over the comparative period last year. However, murders declined by 11 per cent, with 650 murders committed for the six-month period.