KINGSTON — Head of the European Union Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, says the EU will be funding the visit of two international crime experts to consult with the Head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), as part of efforts to assist Jamaica in fighting crime.
He said the experts are expected to arrive in Jamaica as early as next week and would be at the disposal of Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington.
The Ambassador was speaking on April 20, during the signing ceremony for 10 new contracts under the Grants of Low Amounts III (GOLAs III) project, at the Rennock Lodge All-age school in East Kingston.
Some 10 organisations will benefit from grants of up to $1 million each, with funding from the EU. This will impact the social development projects of nine communities in Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Catherine.
Ambassador Alemanni explained that the GOLAs project was part of a number of programmes funded by the EU in an attempt to boost Jamaica’s crime fighting efforts, through the support of human and community development.
He said the funding of projects, such as the Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP) I and II, as well as the implementation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) strategic review and the Justice Reform formed part of the EU’s strategy to assist Jamaica in eradicating crime.
The GOLAs programmes are a sub-project of the Poverty Reduction Programme II and are being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Meanwhile, Managing Director, JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, speaking at the contract signing ceremony, pointed out that since inception, GOLAs has had tremendous accomplishments and has impacted the lives of thousands of Jamaicans.
She noted that since 2010, some 15 community-based projects, targeting social capital building, have been developed, benefiting close to 3,390 persons.
Mrs. Gillings said that the programme is supporting community-based organisations with their small scale project ideas. “It has, to date, implemented projects that respond to a range of needs, including job-readiness training, remedial and continuous learning, strengthening school feeding programmes and social capital building, through sports,” she said.
The Managing Director explained that the agency was working to further implement the PRP II, a continuation of PRP I, which has done a considerable amount of work in assisting with poverty alleviation. She informed that the PRP I and PRP II combined, have resulted in over $450 million being spent on schools alone.
Mrs. Gillings also noted that the JSIF was also working to implement the EU-funded Tropical Storm Gustav Emergency Recovery Project, which was charged with the repair and construction of nine schools and health centres islandwide.
Some 25 grants have been awarded to date, under GOLAs I and II, accommodating a variety of objectives and activities, including summer camps, sports rallies, job readiness and school readiness training, as well as strengthening school feeding and school gardening programmes.
Projects which have benefited from GOLAs funding in the past include the Rennock Lodge All-age school Nutrition Enhancement Programme, Gregory Park Primary Literacy and Numeracy project and the Windsor Heights Work and Play for Community Unit project.
By ATHALIAH REYNOLDS, JIS Reporter