Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security Senator Pearnel Charles Jr., was recently welcomed by Ambassador Audrey Marks at the Jamaican Embassy in Washington DC.
The Minister, who has portfolio responsibility for the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Jamaica Combined Cadet Force (JCCF), used the opportunity to discuss initiatives to enhance youth engagement and support for critical projects relating to the two organizations.
The Ambassador, who is also the Permanent Representative-Designate of Jamaica to the Organization of American States (OAS), took keen interest in the New Path project. Minister Charles informed her of the project’s significant impact on Jamaica’s juvenile remandees.
The State Minister revealed that the project entitled, “A New Path” – Promoting a Healthy Environment & Productive Alternatives for Juvenile Remandees and Offenders in Jamaica” is set to begin its second phase in partnership with the OAS, USAID/ Jamaica and Trust for the Americas and was granted approximately JMD$320 million to support expansion to all juvenile correctional centres.
Minister Charles also discussed the various ways that the diaspora and friends of Jamaica can be incorporated to support areas of need and to facilitate the objectives of the Ministry of National Security.
In this regard, he identified the DCS’ ‘We Transform’ Programme that, inter alia, teaches wards using the ‘learning by doing’ technique and incorporates mentorship as well as plans to establish productivity centres to support youth upon their release.
Furthermore, Minister Charles requested resource support in the form cadet uniforms, musical instruments, compass and map reading equipment for the JCCF. With the anticipated addition of 10 cadet units in schools in western Jamaica, Minister Charles explained that “it is critical that we create a platform for JCCF alumni registry and the Jamaican diaspora to get involved in the development of the JCCF.” He also noted the JCCF and the Ministry of National Security’s plan to bolster opportunities for cadets through exchange programmes with counterparts in the United States of America and Canada as well as provision of scholarships.
Ambassador Marks shared recommendations and reaffirmed her commitment to support these worthwhile initiatives. Further discussions are expected to advance opportunities for the DCS and the JCCF to tap into critical supportive networks. For this reason, the courtesy call on Ambassador Marks is viewed as a key step towards establishing and building partnerships to enhance the success of these organizations.