National service corps to expand to western JamaicaThursday, May 16, 2019
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James — Security minister Dr Horace Chang has announced that the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) will be expanding the Jamaica National Service Corps (JNSC) to western Jamaica.
He did not provide a time frame within which the roll-out is expected, but the move is ostensibly tied to the security forces' push to rein in incidence of crime in the parish.
“The JDF's roll out of the Jamaica National Service Corps, which will have a footing in western Jamaica soon, one that I look forward to, continues to make significant strides,” Dr Chang said. “I look forward to the expansion of the Jamaica National Service Corps. I know that will demonstrate the commitment of the Government in reaching out to unattached youths and creating the opportunity for young men and women. “
He was speaking Tuesday at the opening ceremony for the JDF's Burke Barracks accommodation in Montego Bay, which will serve as the new home of the Second Battalion, the Jamaica Regiment (2JR).
The JNSC was established in 2017 as part of Government's Housing, Opportunity, Production and Employment Programme (HOPE), which aims to provide educational and job opportunities for young people.
Dr Chang noted that so far, of the 2,076 youth enrolled in the JNSC, 640 have enlisted in the JDF.
“To date, 2,076 of our young men and women have been attached to the Jamaica National Service Corps, Jamaica resident's primary youth outreach programme which has gained national attention and recognition. An outstanding effort at providing our young men and young women with an alternative to join the gangs. Of the 2,076, 640 have already joined the Jamaica National Defence Force,” Dr Chang remarked.
He argued that the establishment of the JNSC in the west will be a suitable alternative for youngsters who are prime candidates for gang recruitment or the potential to be lured into lotto scamming.
“It's tough in this region. We are aware that the primary activity of our gangs in this region in terms of earning income is through what is called lotto scamming, and that, of course, is a very tempting thing for unemployed young men and young women who have often been rejected, or in fact, even abused by the wider community,” the security minister argued.
“But I am confident that if they (youth) are offered productive, creative alternative to develop their skills and earn an honest living they will go to that and they will adopt very quickly and the JDF National Service Corps is one of the most effective mechanism we have found that will begin to attract our young people and young individuals.”
he new Burke Barracks, which is the first of two two-storey dormitory buildings equipped to accommodate 264 military personnel, forms part of an investment valued at $1.6 billion to house the members of the Second Battalion, Jamaica Regiment, whose operations have been relocated from Up Park Camp in St Andrew to Flanker.
“This particular development started on June 1, 2018. There are two phases. The first, which is valued at some $708 million, involves land reclamation, the construction of this two-storey accommodation to house 264 personnel and the construction of a sewage treatment plant,” said Chang.
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