Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said that the Government is committed to engaging the youth population in programmes that will provide them with clear pathways for success and steer them away from criminal behaviour.
“We must productively and positively engage our youth so that they do not become targets for recruitment by gangs or fall prone to other types of criminal activity,” he said.
Mr. Holness was addressing the Passing Out Parade for the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) Intake 2020/21, at Up Park Camp in St. Andrew on Saturday (June 5).
Over 200 soldiers, including 50 females, have enlisted into the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), under the latest batch of the JNSC.
Mr. Holness commended the young soldiers for sticking to their training, noting that they have a key role to play in building a safer and more secure Jamaica.
The Prime Minister said that the present day model of national security requires more than just armed members of the security forces patrolling the streets of targeted communities, noting that persons must have a broader range of skills.
“This long-term approach drove the creation of the JNSC programme in 2017 and in the coming years, as the Government continues to invest in the modernisation of the security apparatus, we will continue the increasing infusion of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the security field,” he said.
The Prime Minister told the young people that their technological awareness and adaptability, place them in an ideal position, as the Government increases its investment in building the capacity of the security forces to tackle crime and violence.
The JNSC, which was conceptualised by Mr. Holness in 2016, targets young people ages 18 to 23, creating an avenue for them to be fully empowered through national service.
Following the passage of the Defence (Amendment) Act in the House of Representatives in 2017, the JNSC became the standard mode of enlistment for persons joining the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to serve as full-time soldiers.
The graduates underwent 16 weeks of intense, basic training focused on military service knowledge, basic first aid, weapons handling, among other areas. For another eight months, they were engaged in military, vocational and broader life skills training, which will equip them for either an extended career in the JDF or engagement in other professional areas of interest.