Corporate Jamaica Urged to Come On Board with CSJP

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(Contributed by the Jamaica Information Service)

Corporate Jamaica is being urged to partner with the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) to create employment and learning opportunities for at-risk youth.

The social intervention programme has joined forces with the Bank of Nova Scotia (BNS) and Jamaica Public Service (JPS), through Memoranda of Understanding, to create such opportunities for youngsters that would not be otherwise possible.

“It is okay to invest in inner-city youth. We have seen hundreds of youth who have benefitted from CSJP support, who have excelled and continue to rise to prominence nationally and internationally. It was that opportunity, that chance or that investment that the CSJP gave to these youth that made the world of difference in their lives,” Programme Manager for CSJP, Simeon Robinson, tells JIS News.

Mr. Robinson says the investment has allowed youth from August Town, Waterhouse, Mountain View, Norwood, Canterbury, among other communities, to walk the halls of offices, such as the Governor-General, the British High Commission and the Jamaica Defence Force, instead of being engaged in an illegal and socially unacceptable enterprise.

“It was that opportunity that enabled young Andrea Marriot-Blake of Water House to complete Norman Manley Law School and also to be invited by the Government of China to present a paper on climate change at a recent conference,” Mr. Robinson says.

The most recent agreement is with the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), to provide stevedoring training to 30 youngsters from the Corporate Area.

 Through the MOU, the young men will be engaged in five weeks of classroom training and a minimum of six months apprenticeship, renewable up to three years, based on performance.

Stevedoring, which involves moving goods on and off ships, is a fast growing, demand-driven skill set in the maritime and logistics industry.

One of the beneficiaries of this agreement, 21-year-old Akeem Gray, says his training in multipurpose rating at the Caribbean Maritime Institute, also through CSJP, has prepared him for the internship.

“I will take as much as I can get from it. You have to know what you want, you have to choose the right road, so just hold your head up high and just stay out of trouble, and  stay out of bad company,” he encourages.

Meanwhile, Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, says such training initiatives are integral to the Government’s crime-fighting measures and strategies and provide a platform for employment for the participants.

“When we look at what is happening this year, we unfortunately have had a slippage of the murder rate, but the increases are coming from parishes where there is little or no CSJP intervention. The parishes that have the concentration of CSJP communities, we have not seen an increase in either murder or other serious or violent crimes,” the Minister highlights.

An evaluation conducted on the CSJP for the period 2009 to 2013 revealed that 44.1 per cent of CSJP community residents said that crime in their community has decreased in the past five years.

 President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ), Kim Clarke, says while the training will not be easy, it will shape the participants’ lives for the better.

“We look forward to working with the Citizen Security Justice Programme and the Ministry of National Security, to develop and deliver training programmes which are not only aligned with the requirements of our industry, but also support the creation of employment, help to reduce crime and violence and  enhance Jamaica’s economic development,” he commits.

The CSJP targets communities where crime and violence are more serious. The programme focuses primarily on the individual and community risk factors in urban, marginalised areas.

The three major problems that the programme has been addressing include the lack of economic opportunities, especially for youth; the use of violence as a way to control and resolve disputes; and the lack of channels for alternative dispute resolution, reconciliation, and access to the justice system.

CSJP III, which is underway, promotes culture change that facilitates community governance and a more peaceful coexistence, through activities that build knowledge and opportunities.

The CSJP is able to implement programmes such as these through funding from the Inter-American Development Bank, UK Department for International Development and Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development.