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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, at her office in Kingston.
Photo: Mark Bell

Story Highlights

  • Since joining the public sector at the Ministry of Education in 1983, where she worked for 13 years, her goal of playing a role in the development of Jamaica and its citizens has remained at the forefront for Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh.
  • Overall, Ms. McIntosh has served in various capacities in the public sector for some 25 years, including Chief Technical Director at the Ministry from 2008 to 2010; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry from 2010 to 2012; Director General at the then Ministry of Finance & Planning from 2012 to 2016, before returning to the Ministry of National Security as Permanent Secretary in 2016.
  • Between 1996 and 2008, Ms. McIntosh pursued higher education and worked overseas with international organisations.

Since joining the public sector at the Ministry of Education in 1983, where she worked for 13 years, her goal of playing a role in the development of Jamaica and its citizens has remained at the forefront for Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh.

Overall, Ms. McIntosh has served in various capacities in the public sector for some 25 years, including Chief Technical Director at the Ministry from 2008 to 2010; Permanent Secretary at the Ministry from 2010 to 2012; Director General at the then Ministry of Finance & Planning from 2012 to 2016, before returning to the Ministry of National Security as Permanent Secretary in 2016.

Between 1996 and 2008, Ms. McIntosh pursued higher education and worked overseas with international organisations.

Speaking with the JIS News, Ms. McIntosh says her passion for helping persons in vulnerable communities to develop skills and become economically independent aligns well with the Ministry’s objectives.

“The Ministry’s core business is crime prevention and public safety. Because of my background in sociology and education, I have a vested interest in our social-intervention programmes. We have a crime problem that is driven by social factors and a lack of attention or resources at the community level. Consequently, with my skillset, I am able to significantly contribute to the creation of the scope of the programmes we execute in targeted communities,” she notes.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Dianne McIntosh, makes a point during an interview with JIS News at her office in Kingston.

 

“The Community Safety and Security Strategy that was developed in 2012 was done under my remit as the Permanent Secretary and it still guides the type of strategies that we have been utilising in social intervention for communities under Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) and States of Public Emergency (SOEs),” Ms. McIntosh adds.

She says the success of initiatives, such as the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), highlights how critical the community interventions are to the reduction of crime.

“We identified that in order to manage high incidence of crime at the community level, we had to go into the space with the mandate to reduce crime. This meant we had to look at disparities, training needs, psychosocial needs as well as the contributing factors to high levels of violence within these communities,” the Permanent Secretary tells JIS News.

Her passion for youth and their transformation has also seen Ms. McIntosh working closely with various programmes that utilise music, sports and technology to develop young persons in vulnerable communities.

“I like youth energy and I am willing and able to listen to what young people have to say. As the Permanent Secretary, I have ensured that, this time around, we appeal to young minds by using music, sports and technology, which are things they love. If you want to show them that you are listening to them, these are the tools that we need to use to engage them,” she says.

According to Ms. McIntosh, she is also particularly proud of a virtual reality programme focused on reducing motorcycle fatalities, to be launched shortly in western Jamaica.

“Because of how much technology is used by our youth, we have decided to introduce the Virtual Reality Programme in Westmoreland to reduce motorcycle fatalities, by teaching youngsters how to properly ride their motorbikes, through the use of a simulator. So, they will go on the simulator and have the real experience of being on the road,” she says.

“We did a training needs survey in the community and recognised what they want, and so we are looking forward to launching that in Petersfield, Westmoreland, where we will be certifying bikers to give them skills to fix motorbikes and effect behaviour change in terms of helmet usage while working with them to get their licences,” the Permanent Secretary adds.

The Ministry of Transport’s Road Safety Unit reported last year that the majority of the 400 motorcyclists killed between 2015 and 2020 were from western Jamaica.

Reflecting on her experiences as a female leader in the public sector, Ms McIntosh highlights her time as a Director General, when she spearheaded the public financial management coordination; the strategic reorganisation of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, and enterprise risk management.

“I didn’t know much about finance as a sociologist and educator, but the Government needed someone who had experience with working with international organisations. The Public Finance Management framework was assessed at the time we had just started and we scored really low – Cs and Ds – such as how our revenues work, how revenue is collected, the capacities and competencies that we have,” she explains.

According to Ms. McIntosh, at the time of her leaving that role, the Ministry of Finance and Planning received As and Bs in the assessment, and that was a pivotal moment in her professional career.

She says that being a woman in a male-dominated Ministry has its challenges; however, she continues to focus on being a transformational leader.

“I have come to understand how to negotiate my way in as a woman, so I am very flexible, but I am also assertive. You have to be a very confident woman to work in a male-dominated space; you cannot be phased by the abundance of masculine energy. As a woman, you bring a different perspective and I think they appreciate it, and I believe you create more effective programmes if there is a balance of males and females,” the Permanent Secretary tells JIS News.

Ms. McIntosh says she is still highly motivated daily to keep giving her best, because of the impact the Ministry has on the lives of persons.

“In my role, we handle investments in our nation’s security and also social development. The wide reach of our work is what keeps me motivated as well as seeing the visible effect of the work being done in communities. This shows me that our work is impacting lives in a myriad of ways,” she adds.

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