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State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, Dr. Donald Rhodd has said that Parliament has committed to promoting greater collaboration among youth serving agencies through the Jamaica Social Policy Evaluation (JASPEV) process.
Minister Rhodd informed that the troika of politicians in Parliament, which includes Opposition Member of Parliament for West Central St. Andrew, Andrew Holness, State Minister of Labour and Social Security, Senator Floyd Morris, and himself had committed to addressing the issue of collaboration among youth serving agencies by signing off on three priority areas.
These areas are, expanding entrepreneurship opportunities; expanding continuing education and improving police-youth relation.
Minister Rhodd was making his contribution to the 2005/06 Sectoral Debate in Parliament on Tuesday (June 28).
Continuing he explained, “these three areas were identified by the youth in the 37 communities across the country as important areas in which they are willing to see improvement”.
Dr. Rhodd also called for greater collaboration among stakeholders in the quest for youth development. “We have reached the point where we must realize that we are serving one youth population and that we must collaborate even more to maximize the impact and effectiveness of the vast amount of human, financial and technical resources that are being invested in youth development”.
In reference to youth and business development Dr. Rhodd explained, “the Development unit in the Cabinet Office with the support of the Development Minister is working to bring together the various players in the entrepreneurship, micro-financing and investment banking sectors to support the identification and development of business ventures for youth at the community and parish levels”.
He further noted that the Social Development Commission (SDC) was working with a number of agencies that provide training and micro-financing support to identify project ideas that the youth and their communities had developed.
Minister Rhodd explained that once the institutional arrangements for collaboration between the agencies were put in place, the Ministry would be going back to the communities in the parishes and regional forums with a view to having the youth take advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities that would be available.
Turning to the issue of crime and youth, Dr Rhodd informed that the youth in the 37 JASPEV communities had placed security on the table as a policy priority issue. “We’ll be making every attempt to work with the youth to improve the relations between the police and youth,” he emphasised.
Additionally Minister Rhodd explained that the Ministry of National Security had been working with the JASPEV team and the SDC to have communities continue the scoring of the police on some critical indicators of police -youth relations.
“The JASPEV communities have already rated the police on these indicators and the police have reviewed the scores and are preparing to have dialogue with the communities on how to improve relations” he informed.
Sixteen additional communities from the corporate area are scheduled to participate in the process.