The Government of Jamaica-European Union (GOJ-EU) Partnership to Support Citizen Security in Jamaica was officially launched on Thursday (January 20) during a function held on the lawns of Jamaica House.
The initiative seeks to contribute to the improvement of the security environment and the promotion of social inclusion in Jamaican communities within the context of the citizen security plan and its implementation strategy.
Under the programme, the EU will provide Jamaica with €20 million, or J$3.5 billion over four years through budgetary support.
In his remarks at the launch, Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said that citizen security is the most fundamental objective of national security in Jamaica today.
“It presents the most comprehensive approach to guaranteeing the delicate balance between the security of persons and their democratic coexistence. It is regarded as the concept that best lends itself to addressing the problems of crime and violence from a human rights perspective,” he added.
The funds are being directed, in particular, to the Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in order to have measurable results as it relates to reduced criminal activity and enhancing opportunities for the residents to engage in self-improvement and empowerment initiatives.
There is also emphasis on the rehabilitation of police facilities, the training of parents through parenting programmes, and the professional qualification/certification of at-risk youth.
Dr. Chang said that the programme will assist in facilitating Jamaica’s attainment of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) One – no poverty; SDGs five and 10 – Gender equality and reduced inequalities, respectively; and SDGs 11 and 16 – sustainable communities and effective governance, respectively.
“These are all critical components of providing citizen security and are pivotal to the Government’s policy priorities in national security,” he said, noting that the provision of the funding through budgetary support will ensure transparency in all operations.
Dr. Chang said that the partnership between the Government and the EU to support citizen security in Jamaica is a symbol of the country’s maturity as a democratic society.
He argued that Jamaica “will not have the change we want until and unless we achieve systemic institutional change within the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) that are tasked with serving the people of these communities. Engagement must be based on public safety, a healthy environment and done in a sustainable manner”.
For her part, Head of the EU Delegation to Jamaica, Ambassador Marianne Van Steen, noted that the EU’s support involves providing financial assistance, in the form of budget support, to assist government agencies to deliver core social services and initiatives in the most vulnerable communities.
Adolescents, youth, and women, who are most at risk, are the primary beneficiaries.
“[It also involves] providing highly specialised technical assistance, in the form of experts, research and training, to improve the delivery mechanisms, coordination, quality and effectiveness of interventions on the target populations,” Ambassador Van Steen said.
The EU has also allocated part of the funds to support civil society participation in the implementation of citizen security initiatives.
“This includes support to the monitoring and oversight mechanism of the 2020 Crime Consensus. The idea behind this is to keep the Government accountable and citizens informed of all the efforts that are being undertaken,” the Ambassador said.