- Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to a comprehensive programme of social intervention in tackling crime in the society.
- Dr. Chang said the significant value of social intervention has been proven at the Glendevon Primary School in the parish, where there was a more than 90 per cent increase in Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) passes following targeted social work at that institution.
Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says the Government is committed to a comprehensive programme of social intervention in tackling crime in the society.
“We have identified that targeted social intervention is a critical medium-term strategy to allay the effects of crime. We are aiming to identify the pathology of the behaviour and treat it,” he said at a stakeholders’ forum on community intervention at the Iberostar Hotel in the parish on April 5.
Dr. Chang argued that the country will only be able to overcome the many challenges of crime, poverty and disorder when “we commit to systemic solutions within a specified framework aimed at tackling the root causes”.
He noted that the enhanced security measures that have been implemented, while effective “are not sustainable, long-term solutions to the issue of criminality and social disorder in this town and others across Jamaica”.
He said the Government must, therefore, ensure that crime-prevention activities and social programmes are paired with security measures “to achieve sustainable, impactful change to the most at-risk communities. To accomplish this, Government must align social services that complement and enhance each other”.
Dr. Chang said the significant value of social intervention has been proven at the Glendevon Primary School in the parish, where there was a more than 90 per cent increase in Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) passes following targeted social work at that institution.
He argued that “successes like these” can become the norm when there is greater collaboration among ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
Such coordination, he said, will ensure better use of fiscal resources and result in more significant impact in the most vulnerable communities.
“The development of this kind of strategic approach is why we are all gathered here today. It is my hope that we will emerge with practical, workable solutions that can be implemented for the benefit of affected communities and Jamaica at large,” he expressed.
“We are aware that it is our people and their resilience that move Jamaica towards its greatest potential. It is with this understanding that the Ministry of National Security seeks to establish an agreed framework for social-intervention coordination,” he added.
The workshop, sponsored by the Ministry, was geared towards crafting an overarching framework to coordinate social interventions and create positive change for communities in St. James.
It pulled together representatives of social agencies, who shared ideas on how to create and maintain a safer environment in St. James and surrounding parishes.
Dr. Chang praised the initiative as “a vital aspect in the fight against crime”, adding that “as a nation, Jamaica has long seen great value in social-intervention programmes”.
He challenged the stakeholders to work to create the impact and change that St. James needs at this time.
“If all of us work together, really follow up, follow through, seek change and maintain that presence in the communities, then change will come,” he said.
The workshop brought together 36 MDAs, including the Ministries of – Economic Growth and Job Creation; Education, Youth and Information; Local Government and Community Development; Labour and Social Security; and Health; the Social Development Commission (SDC); HEART Trust/NTA; National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC); Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF); Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA); Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ); Peace Management Initiative (PMI); Dispute Resolution Foundation; and Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); among others.
The initiative forms part of the Ministry’s five-pillar crime strategy, with emphasis on crime prevention through social development.