JIS News

Community safety and security will be the main focus for Community Month 2009, which will be observed in November under the theme: ‘Community Safety: Our Responsibility’.
This was revealed by the Director of Governance at the Social Development Commission (SDC), Sherine Walker Francis, at a Think Tank held on Wednesday (Oct. 21) at the Jamaica Information Service’s (JIS) head office in Kingston.
She said that the SDC and several agencies will be collaborating to celebrate the month in order to have increased focus on achieving safety and security in communities. She noted that other activities, such as Youth Month, Parent Month, and Local Government Month, were also celebrated in November.
“The strategy is a partnership in recognition that none of us will be able to solve the issue of community safety by ourselves. Everyone has to work together, the community, the agency, international donor partners, the church; all the different sectors of society have to work together to achieve community safety,” she said.
Parenting workshops are among the major activities that the SDC will be hosting during the month in collaboration with other partners.
“In terms of community safety and security, one cannot deal only with the issue of youths on the corner or think that it is the youth that is responsible for a lot of the crime that is being committed, we have to address the issue of parenting,” Walker Francis stated.
Additionally, she informed that primary and high schools will be involved in several activities with debates being planned under the theme: ‘Building synergies in community safety’.
Other initiatives include a joint panel discussion in collaboration with the National Association of Parish Development. A representative from each Parish Development Committee will be asked to make a 10-minute presentation on the safety and security issues in their respective parishes and following the presentation, a representative from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) will comment on the issues raised.
Additionally, the SDC will launch a National Essay and Photo Competition under the theme for Community month.
The list of partners with which the SDC will work to host Community Month include community groups, Ministries, Parish Development Committees, the Jamaica Fire Brigade, National Association of Parish Development Committees, Local Authorities, the University of Technology and the University of the West Indies (UWI).
In addition, Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) have been signed with the Department of Local Government; Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); the United States Agency for International Development-funded (USAID) Community Empowerment and Transformation (COMET) Project; and the Strengthening Community Safety through Local Government Capacity Building, and Jamaica Violence Prevention Peace and Sustainable Development Programme, which are being supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“The groundwork has already been done in collaboration with these partners and the community will set the foundation for increased focus and dialogue on the issue of community safety and security,” Mrs. Walker Francis stated.

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