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Minister of National Security, Derrick Smith, has said that the Government will be implementing more social intervention programmes within communities so as to help reduce the incidence of crime.
He was speaking at the Peace Management Initiative’s (PMI) 6th anniversary luncheon held on Friday (Jan. 25) at the Hilton Hotel.
Mr. Smith informed the gathering that a co-ordinating unit will be set up to ensure that new and existing intervention programmes achieve the intended objectives. “We, as an administration, intend to establish a coordinating unit to ensure that all these interventions are properly managed and not a situation where .we are stepping on each other in the respective communities and not achieving the objectives,” he stated.
“We are going to be ensuring that it is better managed, increased and sustained, because sustainability has always been a problem,” he added.
The Security Minister further noted that there needs to be a special effort made “as far as training is concerned and to correct some of the little problems within these inner city communities in particular.”
These problems, he said, include dealing with lights, roads, water, and sewage on the streets, “because we are strong on the view that along with the social intervention, will also involve those simple matters which will improve the living environment and the living conditions for people primarily in these targeted communities.”
The Minister congratulated the work of the PMI, which he noted, had helped to save many lives. “I do not think it is regularly recognised the important role you are playing, not only in striving for peace, but in what I call ensuring the continuance of the democratic process in this country,” Mr. Smith stated.
Instituted in 2002, the PMI’s objective is to foster social cohesion and peace in an effort to alleviate the scourge of violence in the society.
In his remarks, Chairman of the PMI, Bishop Herro Blair, noted that the Initiative currently operates in more than 50 marginalised communities in Kingston and St. Catherine.
He said that the organisation has had mixed success in dealing with many of the social problems affecting these communities and has faced the burden of balancing focus on conflict intervention, with concerns involving the greater development needs of these communities.
He noted however, that the PMI is resolved to working closely with “our partners in addressing the wider problems affecting your communities.”
“We will be working to increase the number of field officers in order to intensify the organisation’s presence on the ground and the interactions with the ‘hot spots’ across the Kingston metropolitan region,” Bishop Blair said.
He indicated that for 2008, the PMI plans to involve more community persons in the management of peace in the targeted areas.