JIS News

Some 60 persons from 12 inner city communities in the corporate area inclusive of 10 police officers have completed their training in the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce’s (JCC) Civic Affairs/Inner-city Development youth leadership programme.
The graduation exercise which took place at the JCC’s Headquarters in downtown Kingston yesterday (September 2), marked the 36th cohort of the programme under which a total of 2,000 persons have received training since its inception some 13 years ago. Individuals involved were from the communities of Red Hills Road, 100 Lane, Tivoli Gardens, Mountain View, Denham Town, Liguanea, Stand Pipe Lane in Liguanea, Waterhouse, Portmore, Rockfort, Harbour View, Bull Bay, Duhaney Park and Fletchers Land. Course participants were exposed to training in conflict management, interpersonal skills, human relations, community leadership, entrepreneurship and family life among others.
Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport Portia Simpson-Miller speaking at the ceremony expressed approval at the involvement of police officers in the training course. This she said was important as crime fighting strategies without emphasis on police and community cooperation would not succeed.
“It doesn’t matter what crime fighting strategy we put in place if we cannot get the citizens and the police to work together we will never succeed and one of the things we need to have is trust where the communities trust the police and the police trust the people in the communities,” Mrs. Simpson-Miller noted.
Furthermore she said with further cooperation between the Government and the private sector to empower inner-city communities the criminal element could be defeated. “The criminals will have no place to hide,” she stated.
Mrs. Simpson-Miller further encouraged the graduates to practice the interpersonal and conflict resolution skills thought to their counterparts and aid in the turnaround of inner-city communities.
Speaking further, the Local Government Minister said it was necessary that the student loan mechanism be reviewed so that no individual would be denied a university education because of a lack of finances.
“No one should be denied the opportunity no one should be denied access to a good education because of where they live or because they are poor,” she said.
Meanwhile Chairman of the Inner-City Development Committee, Sameer Younis in his remarks noted that the programme had proved particularly beneficial in changing the negative perception of participants about members of the police force and vice versa where individuals prior to the programme thought all police officers were brutal while the officers thought all inner city residents were criminals.
Furthermore he said the programme had assisted in breaking down political barriers between communities by enabling individuals from across the divide to interact and form lifelong relationships.
Vice President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce, Francis encouraged graduates to utilize the knowledge gained to achieve financial independence and contribute to the development of their communities.
Partners with the JCC were the University College of the Caribbean (UCC), which provided two scholarships to the top male and female students, and Citibank Jamaica, which provided sponsorship for the programme.

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