Help us, CSJP youth urges private sector

BY JEDIAEL CARTER Staff reporter

Monday, November 09, 2015

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BENEFICIARY of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP), Surinae Brown, is encouraging the private sector to become involved in what the programme has been doing, as it is an initiative he believes will help in decreasing crime in the island.


"I would appeal to the private sector to really buy into what CSJP is doing and I would also ask them to open their doors to more of the at-risk youth who are vulnerable to crime and violence. Open your doors to them so they can get employment, and in turn then we will see a shift in crime and violence," Brown said at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange held at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters.


Brown, who through the programme says he has seen a change in his life, highlighted that it has steered him to the right path. He believes that if given the opportunity, most people will change.


The CSJP is a crime and violence-prevention initiative under the Ministry of National Security that focuses on building community safety and security, and provides violence-prevention services to vulnerable and volatile communities. Funded by the American, United Kingdom and Canadian governments, the initiative seeks to implement programmes and services within the targeted communities with the aim of reducing and preventing crime and violence.


Now in its third and ultimate phase, the programme affords at-risk youth, such as Brown, the opportunity to gain employment and provide opportunities for them through internship programmes.


Brown is now an employee at the British High Commission and having been afforded an internship in the organisation as a result of CSJP Employment Internship Programme (EIP). The programme sees the placement of participants in organisations for at least six months and the organisation may retain them permanently depending on performance and availability of space. Currently Brown's duties at the high commission involve training in electrical installation as well as plumbing, carpentry, air-conditioning, and landscaping.


He believes that crime will decrease as a result of the availability of jobs to youth, as it is a lack of engagement that often causes youth to become involved in wrongdoing.


"When you have youths gather together, most times if they are not working, some of them are going to be tempted to do certain things just to have money come in. They want to travel somewhere, they don't have any money, they don't have any food, [and] when you have community members who stigmatise persons a certain way that's also one of the reason why most of them turn out the way they are right now," he noted. "So I would appeal to them to open their doors and give the youths a chance," he said.


According to Leroy Portius, a representative from the CSJP, though some companies are willing to participate in the internship programme, many others are hesitant.


"...I guess sometimes it has to do with the stigma attached with some communities. But persons who normally come through the CSJP normally go through some amount of training, some amount of life skills, some amount of exposure that when they reach to those organisations they have a level of preparedness so they are able to perform exceptionally on the job," he told the Observer.


CSJP III covers 50 at-risk communities across eight parishes, namely Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine, Westmoreland, St James, St Ann, and St Mary.


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