Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the National Commission on Violence Prevention is developing a mid-term plan to address societal norms that appear to support the use of violence to settle disputes.
“To that effect, the Commission has been tasked with identifying realistic and implementable recommendations for effecting positive and relevant behavioural changes at all levels in the society,” Mr. Holness said.
He was addressing a Prime Ministerial town hall meeting, held as part of a virtual Jamaica Diaspora Sustainability Symposium, on Wednesday (June 16).
The Prime Minister had informed Parliament in March this year that the Commission, which he empanelled in 2019, had started its work and had presented its national strategic plan to him, which he approved.
The Commission, which is chaired by internationally renowned researcher, Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, is mandated to conduct a continuing comprehensive review of all existing public and private violence-prevention programmes as well as the strategies of the Government.
Its purpose is to identify gaps in the prevention and intervention services and to make recommendations with respect to violence prevention and intervention programmes.
Mr. Holness pointed out that the Government recognises the “deep-rooted and systemic nature of the epidemic of violence in Jamaica,” and that persons need to understand that there is no quick fix to the problem of violence.
“The Government is adopting a multipronged approach directed at achieving a sustainable reduction in crime and violence,” he said.
Mr. Holness stressed that the Administration is doing what is necessary to “transform our police and our military and our national security apparatus and we’re working hand in hand with our social intervention projects which are targeted at dealing with the root causes of the problem”.
“We are also far more structured in our community intervention and security strategy through… the Zones of Special Operations which, in my opinion, have been very successful in bringing peace to communities that were literally at war with themselves,” he said.
The Prime Minister said the Government has continued to work to “keep a lid on crime” by strengthening the national security apparatus to include equipment, technology, skills, as well as the legislative infrastructure.
He pointed out that based on statistics, in the last 10 years, “we have managed to reduce violent crimes, reduce murders and, indeed, reduce crimes generally”.
The two-day symposium was held June 16 and 17 under the theme ‘Jamaica and the Diaspora – Stronger Together for a Sustainable Future’.
It was organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, with support from various partners.