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JIS News

The Citizens Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) is taking a holistic approach to assisting residents of West Kingston in the aftermath of security operations in the area.
Programme Manager, Simeon Robinson, tells JIS News that the CSJP is engaged in discussion and counselling sessions with the residents, and is participating in and providing support for activities, organised by other groups.
Among these are the Ministry of Education, through its guidance counselling unit, the University of the West Indies and non-governmental organisations. “Our immediate thoughts are in terms of those people, who need therapy and we have been doing as much as we can to help to support or facilitate these arrangements,” Mr. Robinson states.
He notes that the counselling is reinforced by therapeutic trips outside of the communities. Already, residents of Hannah Town, Denham Town, Trench Town, Fletchers Land and Tivoli Gardens, have enjoyed the beauty and tranquil atmosphere of the Cranbrook Flower Forest and River Head Trail in St. Ann, and the fun and adventure of the Kool Runnings Water Park in Negril.
“The reason for doing this is so that as the counsellors (and) psychologists assess the state of mind of these persons and try to come up with a treatment plan, they are providing an avenue against which some of this work can take place. While some of the counselling has been taking place in the communities itself, these are being reinforced by these trips outside of the community,” Mr. Robinson informs.
He lauds the efforts of private groups such as the Sandals Foundation, SuperClubs, among others, in this effort.
“The Sandals Foundation, SuperClubs and others have given passes to some of the youngsters and adults to their hotel facilities where we were able to take the residents out and provide counselling in a setting of serenity and tranquillity. Private individuals have supported in terms of providing cash and transport,” he informs.
Meanwhile, Mr. Robinson tells JIS News that the CSJP is assisting secondary and tertiary levels students to identify summer jobs.
“Young adults, who are not in school and have qualifications like CXC/CAPE (Caribbean Examination Council/Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination)… we are trying to place then in internship programmes and this is going to be in collaboration with our private sector as well as through government agencies,” he informs.
He notes that placing young people in internship programmes has always been an initiative of the CSJP, noting that “once we do this, some of them are kept on permanently by the host organisation”.
Mr. Robinson says further that the programme will be seeking to identify opportunities for youngsters, especially males, who have been trained under its vocational skills programme, which is undertaken in collaboration with the HEART Trust/ NTA.
He says that the CSJP is hoping to get a more positive response from the private sector in terms of hiring persons, who have been trained under the initiative. “Now, the risk is that at the end of the day, when we finish the training and (persons can’t get jobs), it becomes a major disincentive for people not to come into the programme,” he points out.
The Project Manager tells JIS News that the residents in the affected communities are very grateful for the assistance they are receiving from the CSJP.
“They have been expressing their gratitude for the effort not just from CSJP but from everybody else who have been trying to make a difference,” he says.
He argues, however, that for the efforts to be sustainable, the social economic conditions in the communities must improve.
“We (want communities where) garbage is regularly collected, water is regularly available, there is electricity, the place is properly laid out, that if there is an emergency you have proper emergency response arrangements, and quality of housing is good. This is basically the vision of what we want to create in these inner-city communities,” Mr. Robinson states.
“We are looking for this type of transformation and hope that there will also be a transformation in the negative attitudes of some of the residents in these communities and with this change in attitude, that we will see a reduction of crime and violence over a period of time,” he adds.
The CSJP is a programme of the Ministry of National Security, which is aimed at preventing crime and violence through community safety and security initiatives.
The programme provides prevention services to 26 vulnerable and volatile communities; strengthens crime management capabilities; builds the capacity of the Ministries of National Security and of Justice; improves the delivery of judicial service.