British High Commissioner to Jamaica, David Fitton, has lauded the remarkable impact of Phases one and two of the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) on the crime rate in vulnerable and volatile communities.
Speaking at the signing ceremony for the loan contract and non-reimbursable financing agreements for Phase Three of the CSJP, held at the Ministry of Finance and Planning, on December 11, High Commissioner Fitton highlighted that murders in CSJP communities have been reduced by 29 per cent and shootings are down by 26 per cent.
“The survey showed that 44 persons questioned believed that crime in their communities has reduced as a direct result of the programme,” he noted.
The High Commissioner offered congratulations to the Government and to the organizations responsible for administering the programme.
Also joining High Commissioner Fitton in congratulating the key players of the CSJP was Country Representative for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Therese Turner-Jones.
“This is exactly what we are hoping for with this project. The Inter-American Development Bank has been working with crime and security issues in Jamaica since 2001, so this is a proud moment to be here for a third phase, and also to have leveraged an excellent programme,” she said.
Mrs. Turner-Jones underscored the importance of programmes, such as the CSJP, by highlighting that the environment around crime and injuries related to crime has an impact on the national budget.
“Twelve per cent of the health budget is impacted by crime and crime related injuries. Crime also negatively impacts the business community, which is a very important aspect of turning the whole Jamaican economy around,” Mrs Turner- Jones highlighted, adding that part of the IDB’s main reason for being in Jamaica is to see the economy grow.
She said the focus on culture change for CSJP III is important, because it is not just about crime control, but about changing the mentality of young people and teaching them how to resolve conflicts.
“It is also important to look at how the society sees the role of violence in the society. This third phase has some elements that we think are going to deliver even better results than the first two phases,” she said.
The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention initiative of the Ministry of National Security, which focuses on building community safety and security. The programme provides crime and violence prevention services to 50 vulnerable and volatile communities, spanning 8 parishes, and conducts institutional strengthening of the Ministry of National Security.
By Shelly-Ann Irving