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The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has taken advantage of a unique opportunity to build trust among inner-city youths, by offering internships to several young people from Parade Gardens (Tel Aviv and South Side) in downtown Kingston.
The internship programme is a part of the Inter-American Development Bank-funded Kingston Urban Renewal Project (KURP), managed by the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC). The programme will see 30 participants placed at organisations such as the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel, the HEART School of Cosmetology, and the JCF.
Speaking at an orientation session for the interns at the JBDC’s headquarters in Kingston on Tuesday (December 1), Assistant Commissioner of Police, John McLean, noted that while it was an opportunity for the youths to gain valuable job experience, the JCF also stood to benefit.
“The JCF, as an organisation, is trying to change the relationship between the police and the public and I think it’s fairly often the case that the public doesn’t trust the police and the police doesn’t trust the public. There are many good reasons for that over the years, but we are trying to come around,” he explained.
He noted that this mistrust was especially noticeable in urban communities, and told the interns that those who would be going to work with the JCF would be “pleasantly surprised to see that behind the gun, behind the uniform there’s actually a man, a woman, a brother, a sister, you know, somebody who cares about people, someone who’s got a family life and who’s trying to do good for Jamaica.”

Consultant for the internship component of the Kingston Urban Renewal Project, Ms. Pamella McKenzie, outlines a few ground rules to a group of young persons from Parade Gardens (Tel Aviv and Southside), in downtown Kingston, who are participants in the Kingston Urban Renewal Project’s internship programme, during an orientation session for the programme, held at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) on Camp Road in Kingston, on December 1.

Persons placed at the JCF will be required to work in support areas, such as human resources and administration.
The interns were briefed on matters of deportment and conduct during Tuesday’s orientation session. They were also encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity given to them in order to ensure that more doors will be opened for them.
One of the interns, Sheldon Barnes, who holds Level One certification in food preparation from the HEART Trust/NTA, said the programme allowed youths from both sections of the community to receive training and hope for the future. He added that he is looking forward to his internship at the Runaway Bay HEART Hotel, in St Ann.
“We’re going out there to try our best to see if we can be placed. I think KURP is doing a real good thing with taking us out of the Kingston region, you know, help us explore our horizons and see if we can learn more under different environments, because some of us really haven’t been out of Parade Gardens,” he said.
Participants were selected following an assessment of the skill sets of the youths in the community. They were then given job-readiness training, with some receiving further skills training through the HEART Trust/NTA. Participants will receive uniforms, a stipend, and allowance for travelling expenses. Accommodation will also be provided for those who are placed outside of Kingston.