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Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson, says there is a need for “hard policing tactics” in dealing with crime and violence in the Jamaican society, but that these tactics must be complemented with softer approaches.
He said that, although some stakeholders in the society, invariably, question the strategies employed by the police to reduce crime and violence and decry, for example, the use of hard policing tactics, they are necessary in many instances.
“I want to say. that whilst this cannot be the panacea, the be all and end all to addressing crime and violence, it is necessary in many instances. But, it has to be enhanced, buttressed (and) complemented by soft community approaches. approaches which seek to go into the communities and try to present some alternatives,” he stated.
He was speaking at the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies’ (SALISES) colloquium seminar series, on the theme: ‘Jamaican Civil Society: Resurrection or Resignation’, at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Wednesday (April 14).

Minister of National Security Minister, Senator Dwight Nelson (right), speaking with Director of the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Brian Meeks, during SALISES colloquium seminar series at the UWI on Wednesday (April 14). Senator Nelson delivered the main address. The seminars provide a forum for debate on critical national and regional issues.

Senator Nelson said there were several intervention programmes and initiatives, funded by the government and multilateral agencies, tailored to provide solutions and alternatives to conflict and violence through various institutions, whether they are for learning, creating new skills or implementing activities which bring communities together, like sports.
He listed among the multilateral agencies – the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), European Union (EU), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the United Kingdom-based Department for International Development (DFID).
“We have to address these soft community approaches, and we are addressing them in order to address the whole phenomenon of crime and violence,” he said.

Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson (left), greets Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona Campus, Professor Gordon Shirley, during the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute for Social and Economic Studies’ (SALISES) colloquium seminar series at the UWI on Wednesday (April 14). Senator Nelson delivered the main address. The seminars provide a forum for debate on critical national and regional issues.

Senator Nelson explained that an integral part of minimising violent conflict is transforming structures and dynamics that govern social and political relations, as well as access to power and resources.
“These social structural changes will have to contribute to the establishment of participatory nation building processes, by fostering democratic development, non-violent and just dispute resolution systems, the participation of the population and re-affirming of the rule of law,” he contended.
Lamenting the decadence into which he said Jamaica had descended consequent on the pervasion of crime and violence, Senator Nelson argued for the need to “retool” and “equip” communities, if civil society is to be resurrected, emphasising that educational institutions must be integral to retooling, re-inventing, redesigning and restructuring these communities.
“What we will have to do in this retooling and reinventing is to create, within the community, that sense of acceptance and recognition of our educational institutions, as part of the development of communities, to the point where our institutions can, one day, leave all the doors open and nothing would be stolen,” he contended.
He bemoaned the incidence of vandalism occurring at schools, describing as “heart rending” reports of institutions being burgled and robbed of equipment and tools vital to education, “perhaps by the very people whose children attend these institutions.”
“One of the phenomenon that I will never be able to get myself to accept, is to look at churches with these massive grills on all windows, all organs, all speakers; even the very chalice from which communion is taken has to be placed behind a grill,” Senator Nelson observed.
He cited the need for government and non-governmental stakeholders to explore solutions to addressing the wanton disregard for private and public property by unscrupulous individuals.
The seminars are being staged to provide, basically, a forum for presentations and debate on critical national and regional issues, said SALISES Director, Professor Brian Meeks.