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Atkinson wants HEART courses in remand centre

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 17, 2014    

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FALMOUTH, Trelawny - Attorney General Patrick Atkinson is calling for the Jamaican Government of which he is a senior member, to introduce HEART Trust/National Training Agency programmes in one of the island's correctional institutions.

The attorney general wants the HEART Trust/NTA to provide training courses at the Horizon Adult Remand Centre to equip inmates with skills which they can turn to for employment when they are released from prison, instead of returning to a life of crime.

"I am calling for HEART to enter into the Horizon Remand Centre. It's almost 1,000 people (in there) most of whom are going to be back out on the street in less than three years. And they are sitting in there doing nothing and festering," Atkinson advocated.

"But if we had HEART training courses in there, in various fields, whatever it is, I think it will do a lot for us to solve the crime issue," he said.

Atkinson noted that HEART/NTA could make use of unused classrooms that he said are already inside the walls of the prison.

"They have classrooms in there but they are not being used. So if they can get HEART in there to train a couple of those guys I think a few of them, when they come back out, will not go back in there," said Atkinson, who is also the member of parliament for North Trelawny.

Atkinson was speaking to the Jamaica Observer, following the launch of a construction training programme, spearheaded by him in his constituency, in partnership with HEART/NTA last week.

Already, 160 people have signed up to participate in the nine-month HEART Trust/NTA certified construction training programme which is slated to start before the end of March.

The project is funded from Atkinson's Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to the tune of $1.5 million, which was handed over to Marsha Grant, centre manager at the HEART Trust/NTA Falmouth Vocational Training Centre at last week's launch held at the William Knibb Educational Centre in Falmouth, Trelawny.

Upon completion of training, each successful participant will be presented with a Level II certificate in construction from the HEART Trust/NTA.

The participants, who were selected from across the constituency, will be trained in carpentry, masonry, steelwork and general construction, Atkinson disclosed.

He said that he is impressed with the HEART/NTA and plans to utilise the training agency more in the future.

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