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Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Dr. Donald Rhodd, has emphasised that the Government was committed to the creation of safer communities islandwide.
Speaking at a community stakeholders forum on May 18 at the Morant Bay Anglican Church Hall in St. Thomas, he pointed out that, “the safety of residents in communities is a measure of human security and cannot be ignored, as the value of human life is very important”.
Dr. Rhodd explained that communities islandwide faced differing levels of insecurity and the response of the state has to be designed and packaged in light of the peculiar vulnerability of each community, noting that there were instances when the security forces would have to be at the forefront of any effort at transformation.
In other cases, he said the community would be left to make the transformation with minor assistance from state agencies. “Certainly, some state agencies will have to take a lead role in the creation of a safe community and by extension a safe country,” he said.
Dr. Rhodd’s address was part of a series of islandwide public community fora put on by the Ministry of National Security in an attempt to get public consensus on how to tackle crime at the community level. “We’ve already formed parish crime prevention committees in St. Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, St. Elizabeth, St. James and even in Portmore,” he informed the gathering, which included students.
The State Minister suggested that one strategy to crime prevention would be through an integrated approach, getting every citizen involved to prevent crime and help in the prosecution of offenders. “This is not an overnight or quick fix solution, so we’re going to require sustained action, sustained and co-ordinated intervention from all stakeholders, support for the security forces and encouraging collaboration with communities and countries in this era of trans-national criminality,” he said.
He appealed to residents in communities to value human life, and urged the school, the church, the family and the wider community to assist in the campaign to create safer communities.