JIS News

Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Arthur Williams, has lauded the two-day consultation on reducing the impact of small arms and light weapons on children and their communities as a timely discussion.
He said the forum is another step in helping to ensure that the society is rid of violence against children. “I wish to put on record that the Ministry of National Security has been pleased to have joined with UNICEF, UNDP and the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA), in hosting this very timely two-day consultation to look at the impact that violence has on our children and in particular, gun-related violence,” he said during a press briefing at the Jamaica Pegasus yesterday (March 7).
However, Senator Williams explained that “there is much more work to be done in the matter of preventing violence against children in all its forms”. “Some [violent acts] are more insidious than others but any violence against our children is something that we must all work to eliminate and to do so in the shortest possible time,” he stated.
The State Minister also explained that “the psychological impacts can have devastating consequences on our children’s growth and development.”
As a result, he said the Ministry of National Security will place significant focus on the introduction of social interventions. “The Ministry of National Security has recognized that strategies to control crime and violence in Jamaica does not rest solely on stronger policing measures but that there has to be an element of social intervention,” he noted.
According to Senator Williams, the interventions should take into account community protection, parenting skills, and conflict resolution.”These are the kinds of measures that we have to introduce and experience has shown that it has gone a far way in reducing tensions in many communities across Jamaica. It is not something that only must come after there has been an outbreak of violence but it must come prior to, as a preventive measure,” he added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Minh Pham, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) representative who participated in the discussions, explained that the issue surrounding the impact of small arms and light weapons on children and their communities is complex.
It is a “nexus of a number of critical factors including gender, geography, income level, and demographics, which provide for a very complex and explosive situation that we have seen in Jamaica,” he pointed out during the press briefing. Mr. Pham also explained that there is need “for better coordination at the international level and among governmental and non-governmental organizations so that the interventions may range from social matters such as health and education to matters of law enforcement, justice and security.
The participants in the consultation, which ended on March 6, were from Central American and Caribbean countries and included representatives from Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

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