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JIS News

The Portmore Social Development Commission (SDC) is working to develop a community safety initiative for Newlands in Portmore, which will address gang warfare and high crime levels in the area.
Governance co-ordinator with the Portmore SDC office, Lloyd Erskine, told JIS News that the organisation is collaborating with the police on the initiative.
He said that a community work plan was “validated and approved” by the community at a meeting on August 19. In addition to the residents, the meeting included Member of Parliament for South St. Catherine, Fitz Jackson; Mayor of Portmore, Keith Hinds; and Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley.
The work plan, Mr. Erskine explained, will address the lack of internal capacity, the influence of gangs and informal leaders, poor relations with the police, illiteracy and unemployment among young people.
“The community also identified a number of indicators that they will look for to recognise that the plan.is working, and that the community is moving where people can benefit and improve their quality of life,” he informed further.
Assistance is being sought from the Jamaica Foundation for Lifelong Learning, the HEART Trust/NTA and the National Youth Service (NYS) to get young people attached to programmes and opportunities, while a number of funding agencies will be approached for financing.
With the plan approved by the community, Mr. Erskine said that the next step is “developing some of the ideas into project proposals. So what we’re in the process of doing now is to revive the citizens association in Newlands and liaising with identified funding agencies with the developed project proposal, so that we can start implementing projects from the work plan.”
Mr. Erskine stated that the plan, when implemented and complemented with a number of facilitating activities, should bring some change to Newlands as it relates to development, safety and security.
He is projecting that within another three months some positive developments should materialise from the plan.

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