Student leaders from tertiary institutions have suggested to the police top brass that significant strides can be made in reducing crime by infusing the police youth club movement with arts and literacy programmes, in addition to enlisting ambassadors from volatile communities.
At the same time, the youngsters, who were afforded the opportunity to engage in conversation with Police Commissioner Major General Antony Anderson, as a part of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) 151st anniversary week-long celebrations, each noted that they were willing and ready to play a part in achieving this.
“Taking the visual and performing arts into the communities through the police youth clubs will help the youth to channel their energy into something fun and positive, turning them away from violence and gang activities,” stated Kachine Martin, guild president of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. “I am willing to go into the communities along with the youth clubs to do whatever needs to be done to make Jamaica a better place.”
Larey Graham from The Mico University College endorsed this, but made a strong case for executing literacy projects.
“I believe that in this day and age where education is more accessible, despite being expensive at the tertiary level, if people can read, it empowers them to want more out of life and, in turn, steers them away from the path of wrong. So, I would want to teach people to read – the young, the old, everyone,” he said.
Andrew Hinds, assistant regional coordinator for the Jamaica Union of Tertiary Students, added another dimension to the discussion, arguing that the Police High Command, through relations with the troubled communities and the schools, should appoint police ambassadors.
“Young people love to have titles, it’s attractive to them. So, similar to how the Governor General has the I Believe Initiative, they would be inducted as ambassadors for the force in their community, promoting positive actions and more people will want to be a part of it,” he contended.
In closing the discourse, Anderson said he had taken note of the issues raised by the youngsters and would be looking at how best to address them.
He further reassured them that the JCF was committed to getting closer to communities and the public.
Source: First published in the Gleaner online, Nov. 27, 2018
Writer: Syranno Baines/Gleaner
Photo: Kenyon Hemans