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End crime, invest in our future

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Dear Editor,

This is a response to Paul Allen's article in the Jamaica Observer of July 4, "Four major factors crippling economy".

One of the biggest factors is the resolve to develop and implement sound policies to arrest crime and violence. Proactive policing and prompt constant criminal prosecution is an effective initial assault on criminal deviancy and violent crime, and should continue incessantly. The criminal justice policies are merely the opening salvo to a much broader war on crime. The most lasting and effective strategies to eradicate crime and violence are innovative, sound and constant education and economic policies that promote prosperity, community and offer hope to all Jamaicans.

Conventional wisdom holds that economic deprivation and social anomie are the underlying causes of criminal behaviour in youths and young adults. Jamaica must be in a position to help these young people and adults prepare for the changing nature of work and the new global economy in the coming decades. If governmental policies encourage the development of modern innovative curricula and redouble the nation's fiscal investment in education and training, Jamaica can be both prosperous and safe.

Jobs in Jamaica are no longer dependent on events occurring only in Jamaica or even within the region. In this new post-Cold War economic system, globalisation influences the type of jobs available and the skill sets employees and job seekers will need to compete successfully.

Globalisation has caused some organisations to distribute their employees widely across time and space. Modern technology allows us to be in contact with one another through e-mail, audio-video conference calls, and a myriad wireless communication devices. We are locating offices wherever we have the tools, access to information and the people. This means that businesses and other organisations can be located anywhere around the globe. More and more work functions are being performed in teams and work groups with a lot of interaction and collaboration.

Since modern organisations can be located anywhere, Jamaica should:

(1) develop policies/programmes to attract foreign companies and individuals to relocate to Jamaica (the government would promote the nation by emphasising the climate, culture, and people), which means that the government would need to make significant sustained investments in the telecommunications and transport infrastructure to do this and/or:

(2) the government, in cooperation with the Jamaican business community and Jamaican educational institutions, should develop and implement a plan to encourage and develop these types of skills in Jamaican youth and adults - for example, create and fund magnet schools focusing on science and engineering.

I hope that in the next few years we will have the opportunity to learn, share, and expand our professional knowledge with a developed community to build solutions and excellence for Jamaica. Let us come together with our collective ideas to invest in the future of our beautiful country and finally put an end to crime and violence.

Neville Cooke

Austin, Texas


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