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Minister of National Security, Senator Colonel Trevor MacMillan, has commended members of the Peace Management Initiative (PMI), for remaining steadfast in their commitment to work in troubled communities, despite the many challenges.
“I must congratulate the Peace Management Initiative for your tough work. Despite the challenges, you continue to roll-out your operations in new communities, growing from 15 in 2001 when you started, to 26 at last count. This says much about your commitment,” he said.
Senator MacMillan was addressing participants at a PMI Seminar, held at the Altamont Court Hotel, in Kingston, on November 6.
According to the Minister, he supports the philosophy of the PMI, but rejects suggestions not to work with ‘area dons’.
“I completely support the philosophy behind the PMI. There is a school of thought that suggests that working with ‘area dons’ is tantamount to legitimising them. Well, I reject that completely. The State couldn’t, in all conscience, sit by and not seek to engage them. That would’ve been tantamount to negligence. Top down approaches just don’t work in such complex situations. Dialogue at least brings hope to the situation,” he pointed out.
The Minister also made a rallying cry to the gathering, emphasising that there can be no days off in the fight against crime, and urged them to become an active part of the solution to crime and violence, and criminal gangs.
“This is not a time to back off. This is a time to increase our understanding of the changing nature of one of the main causes of the problem – the criminal gangs,” he said.
Senator MacMillan explained that the way forward depends on “improved policing, new laws to support the work of the police and prosecutors, and greater dependence on intelligence and modern investigative methods.”
The Minister also used the opportunity to encourage the corporate community, to continue supporting the fight against crime.
“A few firms have adopted police stations and are assisting with their refurbishment. We know that corporate Jamaica is stretched, but crime is such a major concern, that they are willing to assist,” he noted.
The PMI was established in January 2002, and currently has Bishop Herro Blair as its Chairman.
The seminar was held under the theme: ‘Peace for Prosperity’.