The St. Catherine Parish Council has begun a drive to build safer communities and enhance public order across the parish.
The Council has officially launched the Parish Safety and Security Committee, which will spearhead a campaign to increase the citizens’ participation in the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of actions to improve their safety and security.
Speaking at the launch, in Spanish Town, on February 14, Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, congratulated the Council and its key partners for taking on the leadership role to address safety and security in the parish.
The Minister said that for far too long there has been the feeling that security is the sole responsibility of the police. He noted that it is only when people act together to find solutions for sustainable peace and harmony, will there be a real decline in acts of violence and other contributing factors that minimize safety at the community level.
“It is due to the measureable interventions of this project and other major initiatives from the Ministry of National Security, the hard working members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and brave commitment of the St. Catherine Parish Development Committee and other partners, that this parish is boasting a lower rate of major crimes over the past 12-18 months,” Mr. Arscott said.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Councillor Norman Scott, outlined several initiatives that the committee has spearheaded since its formation, including a Safety and Security Symposium which saw over 250 community members from Old Harbour, Linstead and Spanish Town getting together to share concerns and ideas that will promote safety and security for all.
“The concerns were documented, prioritised, and will therefore determine which issues will be addressed in the short, medium and long term,” Mayor Scott said.
He said the message of safety and security will be taken around the parish with public education events slated for February 27 in Old Harbour; February 28 in Linstead and March 11 for Spanish Town.
Mr. Scott also informed that a safety audit has been done in selected communities to document existing safety hazards.
Mayor Scott also addressed the issue of sexual assault and handed out posters and flyers at the official launch.
The flyer depicted the message: ‘Real Men Don’t Rape’; encouraging respect for females, many of whom have been victims of abuse.
“We believe that this positive message will result in behavioural change, one man at a time. This message will be taken to all our major townships as well as our rural areas,” Mayor Scott said.
Among those participating in the launch were United Nations Development Programme’s Resident Representative to Jamaica, Dr. Arun Kashyap; Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Novelette Grant; Representative of the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Robert Hill and Head of the Parish Development Committee, Earl Hyde.