Young people in ‘at risk’ communities will benefit from several training initiatives meant to improve their skill level, and livelihood with the aim of reducing crime and violence in their communities.
Four thousand (4000) youths and adolescents are expected to benefit from the four- year Community Crime and Violence Prevention programme. This programme is the first component of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme (CSSP) of the Ministry of Public Security. The component was officially launched today, at the Shopping Plaza, South Ruimveldt.
Stakeholders and government officials at the launch of the Community Crime and Violence Prevention component of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme
Under this component, 20 communities across five administrative regions were identified for the project based on data collected on robberies, homicide, burglaries and sexual violence.
Rosignol in Region Five has been identified as an at risk community under this programme. Community member, Drelsma Moore said the programme provides another chance for young people at education and gainful employment.
“Some of them don’t even know the basics, so I feel that we should go back to remedial teaching for some of the youths in the Rosignol constituency,” Moore told the Government Information Agency (GINA) after the launch of the programme. Remedial education is a component of the programme.
The aim of the Community Crime and Violence Prevention component is to reduce contributing factors of crime while strengthening protective factors. A major part of the project will focus on empowering young people through technical and vocational training to develop entrepreneurial skills. The private sector will be engaged to provide work attachments for these young people.
Albion, Region Six is another at risk community identified under this programme. Resident, Azad Sugrim told GINA that young people in his community are in need of formal training to be strong entrepreneurs. Sugrim, who is also the Administrator at the Upper Corentyne
Albion resident, Azad Sugrim
Industrial Training Centre, said that many young people in the community have knowledge in building trades, but need on-the-job training.
“With the entrepreneurial component that is embodied in the programme, quite a lot of the young people are going to venture out into their own little business, and start their own career,” Sugrim told GINA.
Over 300 youths are expected to benefit from entrepreneurial training, and will be supported with small grants to facilitate small business start-ups. The component will provide financial and non-financial support, such as counselling, for the duration of their training along with a US$70 monthly stipend.
The implementation of community-based preventive and restorative strategies is another core component of the CSSP. The Community Crime and Violence Prevention Component of the CSSP received US$5.7M as funding for this first component from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
Another aspect of the project provides counselling and parental training to community members. La Penitence resident, Yvonne Ingrid Ferguson told GINA the programme will be of great help particularly to teen parents.
La Penitence resident, Yvonne Ferguson
“With this programme it will benefit the teenagers a great lot because there are a lot of ‘limers’, lots of parents who neglect some of their children in the area and this programme will impact a great knowledge on the youths,” Ferguson explained.
The Crime and Violence Prevention component seeks to improve behaviour for non-violent conflict resolution in the target communities with the aim of reducing crime and violence.
Now that the programme has been officially launched, Community Action Specialist Mark Ross explained that the next step would be hiring of 20 consultant officers, one per community, to assist in the design and implementation of the community engagement strategies, and establishing community action councils among other things.
Additionally, the programme will contract 15 youth mentors and coaches and one psychologist to provide counselling and psychological support to each youth benefiting from the programme.
The Crime and Violence Prevention component will also provide funding for rapid impact projects at the community level to ensure the productive use of time by upgrading community centres, institutional strengthening of community based organisations, provision of sports equipment, and establishment of youth friendly spaces among others.
Meanwhile, Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan encouraged the communities to take national ownership of the programme. “To successfully transform the security landscape in our country, implementation of this project requires an important element: national ownership,” the Minister said before officially launching the programme.
Rosignol resident, Drelsma Moore
Government is concerned about the growing number of youths and adolescents in crime. Further, Minister Ramjattan noted that government is aware that there is a direct relation between illiteracy and unemployment, and unemployment and crime.
“This component of the Citizen Security Strengthening Programme is a grassroots attempt designed to address these kinds of crime and violence at the community level by reducing the contributing factors while at the same time strengthening the protective factors,” Ramjattan said.
Other speakers that the launch of the Community Crime and Violence Prevention component were Minister within the Ministry of Education Nicolette Henry, from the Ministry of Social Protection, Diego Alphonso and IDB Country Representative, Sophie Makonnen and Deputy Mayor, Sherrod Duncan.