The Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) has awarded scholarships to 1,861 high school and tertiary students from volatile communities, as the Ministry of National Security intensifies its crime prevention efforts by pushing education.
The beneficiaries are from 27 areas, including 1,400 from the Kingston Metropolitan Area, and 461 from St. James and Westmoreland. Presentations were made to the over 200 tertiary awardees on Thursday (September 23), during a ceremony at the Jamaica Conference Centre, in downtown Kingston.
Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, said the scholarships, valued at over $100 million, represent the largest scholarship award under the Ministry’s crime prevention programme. He said it is a sign of the Ministry’s commitment to empowering Jamaicans.
Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson (third left), with (from left) law student Zoe Curtis; medical student Moneifa Hartley; medical student Doneilo Thomas; dental nursing therapy student, Dania Dennis; and law student Kaydian Carter, who received scholarships at the Citizen Security and Justice Programme(CSJP) scholarship awards ceremony, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on September 23. The students from August Town, Tower Hill, Mountain View and Waterhouse were among 1,800 tertiary and high school students from 27 volatile communities who received scholarships totaling more than $100 million.
Senator Nelson argued that the CSJP model was an effective prevention model that promotes safer communities. “The model suggests that the participation of people, driven by improved educational achievements, enhances beliefs in their own abilities to transform their own lives,” he said.
The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security. The programme is now in its second phase (CSJP II), having completed the pilot phase in 2009.
Since 2001, the CSJP has been offering support to primary, secondary and tertiary students within the Kingston, Montego Bay and Savanna-la-Mar areas. Support to tertiary students was stepped up in 2007 with scholarships awarded to 300 persons, and has since increased six fold to more than 1,800.
Programme Manager for CSJP II, Simeon Robinson, shared statistics which show that youth between 14 and 24 years are both victims and perpetrators of crime, stressing that it is imperative that they are engaged, rehabilitated and resocialised.
Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson (right), and Programme Manager for the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) II, Simeon Robinson (centre), examine the programme for the CSJP’s scholarship awards ceremony, held at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, on September 23. Looking on is Community Action Co-ordinator, CSJP, Orville Simmonds. Over $100 million in scholarships have been awarded to over 1,800 tertiary and high school students from 27 volatile communities.
Mr. Robinson disclosed that this year the CSJP took a policy decision to support 11 students who are currently enrolled in the faculties of law and medicine at the University of the West Indies.
“The CSJP is proud of every scholar who has been successful. They were evaluated against evaluation criteria designed to identify those most in need, those with good grades, those involved in the development of their communities and those who were previous beneficiaries, so as not to disrupt their schooling,” he said.
Sharing her experience as a past beneficiary of a CSJP scholarship, medical doctor, Claudia Allen, said she grew up in Trench Town and at first struggled to finance her educational ambitions.
“I was very instrumental in my own tuition, because I had to work on the weekends and study. So, when I was introduced to the CSJP it was such a blessing for me, because I could just focus on school only, and it came at a critical time when I didn’t really have the time to be working along with going to school,” she said.
Dr. Allen, who graduated in 2008 from the University of the West Indies, Mona, as the first doctor in her family, credits the programme for fostering a good relationship between the community and members of the security forces.