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The lives of several inner-city residents from across the country have been significantly enhanced, following their participation in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) Youth Leadership Training Programme.

The 54 persons, who successfully completed the course, were presented with certificates during the graduation ceremony for the 55th cohort of the programme held at the JCC’s offices in Kingston, on December 14.

Participants were trained in: conflict management, interpersonal skills, human relations, employability skills, community leadership, entrepreneurship and marketing and family life, over a six-week period. The group also included several law enforcement members.

Held in collaboration with the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), the training course is an initiative of the JCC’s Civic Affairs and Inner-city Development Committee. The aim is to improve the relationship between citizens and police, in order to reduce crime and to provide residents with the skills to contribute to the development of their communities.

Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter  Bunting, who was guest speaker at the event, lauded the JCC’s unique concept of combining police officers with residents, noting that he was pleased,  based on the feedback from the participants, that relations have improved.

He congratulated the graduates who he said “have made a choice that you are going to determine the outcomes of your lives and I know your communities look forward to your returning to being agents of change and catalysts towards…improving the quality of life in your communities”.

President, JCC, Francis Kennedy, said the body was particularly proud of its role in equipping citizens with the necessary skills to empower themselves, and thereby contribute to the economic viability of the country.

“As a Chamber, we are conscious that the types of skills and attitudes that we encourage and support in this programme, is indispensible in the process of developing a vibrant economy. If we are to attract and retain investment from both domestic and overseas sources, one major determinant is that the appropriate labour force skills are in place. Another is existence and observance of mutual respect between all parts of our society in the interest of the nation,” he said.

Sixty persons participated in the programme, including 46 inner-city residents from various communities in three parishes, and eight police officers.