The Zones of Special Operations (ZOSOs) in Denham Town, West Kingston; Mount Salem, St. James; Greenwich Town and August Town in St. Andrew, have been extended for a further 60 days.
The House of Representatives, on Tuesday (June 15), approved four Resolutions for the extensions, which were moved by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang.
Dr. Chang said that the ZOSOs “are working effectively”, noting that the residents in the beneficiary communities can attest to the significant infrastructural, social and security improvements.
“It is understandable, therefore, that colleague Members of Parliament across the entire island have been requesting the declaration of ZOSOs within their constituencies,” he pointed out.
Dr. Chang said that more than 21 communities have been identified by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) as being vulnerable and volatile and could meet the criteria for the designation of a ZOSO.
He noted, however, that it is not feasible to declare ZOSOs in all of these communities at the same time, given the extensive human, financial and institutional capacity that is required.
It is for this reason, he pointed out, that the Government has issued a policy directive to reposition and strengthen social investments, in order to ensure meaningful, long-term impact on the lives of the people of the identified communities.
This approach, the Minister said, is based on the “comprehensive, all-of-government structure for social investment under Plan Secure Jamaica”.
He told the House that the social investment for transformation model is guided by relevant empirical data, clearly defined and measureable outcomes, and a strong monitoring, evaluation and learning framework.
“It is important to note that the high-level group that is responsible for the inter-ministerial coordination around social investment, known as the Business Advisory Group, is chaired by the Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness,” Dr. Chang said.
He said that the undertaking signals the high level of importance and prominence that “this Government is ascribing to the social transformation of these challenged communities and the value we place on improving the human capacity and competence of our people, and the youth in particular”.