JIS News

Minister of Development, Dr. Paul Robertson and Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, Portia Simpson-Miller, are proposing that the various social interventions geared at reducing crime, be coordinated by one organization.
The Ministers were speaking at the recently held two-day retreat of the National Consultative Committee on Crime and Violence, at Strawberry Hill Hotel in St. Andrew.
Addressing colleagues and representatives of civil society, Dr. Robertson identified the need for a lead agency to coordinate the efforts of private sector groups and community-based organizations as they seek to find solutions to problems of crime and violence.
Meanwhile, Mrs Simpson Miller who echoed Dr. Robertson’s views, suggested that the Social Development Commission (SDC), be designated to coordinate these efforts.
She pointed out that it was better to use an existing agency, rather than create a new one to meet this need.
“Every time there’s a challenge, we create new structures and organizations to deal with them, when we have ready organizations, that if we strengthen, have the capabilities to deal with some of the challenges,” she declared.
“From the ministry’s point of view, we see [the] SDC making a more comprehensive input in the work plan – with the strengthening of resources for community building and empowerment,” she added.
The SDC, Mrs. Simpson Miller noted, could be an effective agency for facilitating the kind of partnership and productive outcomes required, in tackling crime and violence at the community level.
In her presentation to the Consultative Committee, Mrs. Simpson-Miller focused on four main points: partners working independently of each other; top down management and relationships; implementation failures; and emphasis on accountability to agencies, rather than accountability to the people.
She also urged the Committee to be sensitive to gender issues, as it advanced with its crime plan.
“Men and women have different needs, and we must avoid setting up gender blind systems that are never sustainable,” she warned. “Gender training is not merely an ‘add-on’ at the end of the plan,” she told her colleagues.
Minister Simpson Miller stressed that communities should be at the core of the work plan and that the expertise and the facilities at the Ministry of Local Government, Community Development and Sport, should be strengthened and fully employed in this endeavour.
A minimum agenda for the action plan, she said, should include embracing the social development infrastructure that addresses basic needs within targeted communities, as well as focus on capacity building for sustainable development, “including programmes aimed at the development of education, skills training, and leadership”.
Minister Simpson Miller concluded her presentation by emphasizing the need for social capital development centred on the empowerment of communities; the establishment and nurturing of principled partnerships; and the integration of gender concerns. These, she said, were critical to the success of the crime plan.

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