JIS News

“I was the devil,” Nicholas Miller says, eliciting gasps from the crowd, as he gives a poignant synopsis of his past as a ‘corner boy’ in an inner-city community in Kingston.
The hushed, attentive audience, gathered at the Fletchers Land community centre in Kingston, is enthralled, as Nicholas describes the “the dark place” he was in, committing crimes and creating mayhem.
But today, the slight-framed youth professes to be a new man. “I found God.God mek me find CSJP (Community Security and Justice Programme). It changed me from a corner boy to somebody who everybody look up to,” he says.
“I have a job now, at Charlie Smith High,” he tells residents, representatives of the CSJP, and other stakeholders, who attended the recent launch of the Real Man Things ‘Pon Di Corner’ programme at the community centre.
“I have two kids with my baby-mother, and I am taking care of my responsibility, taking care of everything. The dark place is where I was, but mi deh inna CJSP now.mi have a lot of goals.a lot of goals,” Nicholas says to thunderous applause.
Nicholas is just one example of an inner-city youth, who has experienced a “rebirth” and has been saved from a life of crime through the CJSP, and will be participating in the Real Man initiative.
Utilising the popular ‘Real Man Things’ radio show, aired on Power 106 FM, as well as interactive sessions and workshops on inner-city streets, the initiative will serve to motivate young men and turn them way from a life of crime.
Nicholas, a resident of Trench Town, is a member of a group of young men dubbed: ‘Men With A Message’ who, under the programme, will be trained and deployed as role models to corners, schools, clubs and sports teams to communicate the message of change to other young men contemplating a life of crime, who are vulnerable to recruitment, or who are living a life of crime.
Christopher Hall is another shining testimony of how CJSP has helped to improve the quality of life of inner-city youth and give them a second chance at making meaningful contribution to family, community and country, even when things seem hopeless.
Having been through a revolving door of facilities for delinquent children and imprisoned over 20 times, Christopher is now a changed man. “(I’ve) been out pon the road from (I was) nine years old.that’s about 1979.me come out of school from about 11 years old…that a primary school.me nuh know secondary school, a straight approved school and prison.I have so many names,” he relates.
“But yuh see, at the end of the day, all a dat behind mi.right now, is change mi a talk bout, fi the other youth them in my community,” he says.
Christopher uses the opportunity to extend his gratitude to the CJSP and its staff, for having worked with him, despite his challenging personality.
“Them people deh cope wid mi foolishness, mi attitude, those type of things.at the end of the day, mi mek a step, .with the hope and the Real Man changes, mi nah guh stop,” is his impassioned assurance.
The father of five says it takes hard work and dedication to fully overcome his challenges, but he is determined to endure. He has been giving back to his community, working with students at Kingston High School, and has assisted a number of inner city youth, convincing them to give up, or shun a life of crime.
“Me see more than a dozen youth straighten up back and say that road is not good (for them).they say self praise is no recommendation, but mi ago praise myself at this moment,” he remarks.
Christopher commends the nine other participants in the Pon Di Corner initiative, the CSJP, and all collaborating entities for coming on board and providing the necessary resources. “Remember, my days in prison and now is two different tings.prison harder now.Jamaica nice, our greatest enemy is the mind.you see from we can function and keep wi mind pon a level, everything nice,” he says emphatically.
Host of Real Man Things, motivational speaker, and life coach, Kevin Wallen, is passionate about the need for change.
“Every time I walk into a prison and me see mi bothers and sisters.it burn me.the first time I walked into Spanish Town prison and I saw three floors of able- bodied young men that were unable to do anything but wake up, fight, eat some food.when I saw that, it burn my heart.that cannot happen anymore. We have to stop it,” he implores.
He says the programme will emphasise that “even though you’re born in a space where you’re surrounded by zinc fence, you don’t have the excuse fi kill people and tek whey dem own”.
“Real Man Things mean that even though you born in a space where sometimes you’re hungry, and you can’t find the first dollar to buy something, it still doesn’t give you the right to hurt somebody else for their own that they work for,” he adds, noting that “real men” must take responsibility for their children and their families.
Mr. Wallen says it is critical that at-risk youth hear the real examples of those, who have survived the struggles of the inner-city life and escaped the allure of crime, which is why the ‘Men with a Message,’ are so important.
Real Man Things’ Pon Di Corner’ will begin airing on Power 106 FM at the end of this month. It will be instrumental in spreading the message of the CSJP, and the opportunities for engagement among communities and groups.
Meanwhile, Programme Manager for the CSJP, Simeon Robinson, explains that through ‘Men with a Message’ as the main conduits, the CSJP and its partners, Churches Cooperative Credit Union (CCCU), and Communications and Business Solutions, as well as other private and public sector entities, will promote opportunities for change, through the provision of jobs, training, and internships for qualified inner-city youth.
The CSJP, a programme of the Ministry of National Security, is in its second phase of funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, which will run until December 2013. Its main objectives are to prevent and reduce crime and violence, and to strengthen crime management capabilities through community action, and institutional strengthening of the Ministry level.
The community action plank will see 28 communities in Kingston, St. Andrew,
St. James and Westmoreland receiving extensive services designed to reduce various types of violence. It also includes activities to promote safe neighbourhoods and build multipurpose facilities for delivery of crime prevention services and to establish Community Justice Tribunals.

Skip to content