CSJP Trainees Off to Guantanamo Bay

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Eight Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) trainees attached to Operation Friendship are to be employed at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security overseas employment initiative.

Senior Employer Service Representative in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Dave Lumley, said the programme offers employment opportunities for Jamaicans in Cuba in various skill areas.

“It is a direct employment programme from companies in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Skills include construction, plumbing, electrical work, carpentry, air conditioning and refrigeration,” he said.

Mr. Lumley was speaking at a send-off ceremony for the trainees on Monday (June 17), at the offices of the CSJP, Oxford Road in Kingston.

The employment initiative is made possible through a partnership between Operation Friendship and the CSJP.

The trainees will be employed under a six-month contract, with the expectation that they will gain valuable work experience.

They will be paid a salary based on their skill area. Additionally, they will also receive a lunch stipend. Air fare and accommodation are being provided by the Cuban organisations at no cost to the trainees.

Mr. Lumley urged the young men, aged 22 to 29, to make use of the opportunity they have been given to improve themselves.

Twenty-two-year-old trainee, Rajhni Reid, expressed optimism for his future, stating that his participation in the programme has been a life-changing experience.

“I have been on the CSJP programme for about three years now, and it has been very good for me. Before the CSJP programme, I was in the street. I used to do a little tiling but nothing much, but I was not certified,” he said.

Mr. Reid, who is from the community of New Road in Clarendon, said that since enrolling in the CSJP programme, he has had more time to focus on his work. “I want to go out there and do better for myself and become an entrepreneur,” he said.

Another trainee, Patrick Turner of Hannah Town in Kingston, who was previously working as a security guard, said he turned to skilled work as a way of charting his path to entrepreneurship.

“What the CSJP is offering is stronger support for youth, and what they have done for us is really powerful,” he said.

Operation Friendship provides inner-city youth with skills training and remedial help in mathematics and English. Skills taught include auto body repair, building construction, furniture making, plumbing and welding. The trainees were selected from several CSJP targeted communities.

The CSJP is a multifaceted crime and violence-prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security. The programme provides crime and violence prevention services to 50 vulnerable and volatile communities, spanning eight parishes.

The programme is funded by the Government of Jamaica, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB); the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada (DFATD); and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (DFID).