JIS: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, says the commissioning of Youth Innovation Centres across the island will assist in the fight against crime.
Mr. Green, who was speaking at the official launch of the Westmoreland Youth Innovation Centre, at Llandilo, on May 31, said the real fight against crime “is touching people and providing them with a different pathway (through) education, training and personal development.”
He argued that although the other crime-fighting strategies cannot be ignored, he believes that the Ministry is the first line in the defence in relation to safety and security in Jamaica.
In this regard, his says the Innovation Centres will provide a channel through which youth can create employment for themselves and for others.
“These centres are now about creating the next generation of entrepreneurs in our country. We know that every youth in Jamaica has a business idea… if you go into a classroom and talk to them, they can give you a myriad of ideas. We know that our youth are talented, they are innovative, and they are very creative,” he said.
In the meantime, he explained that the Innovation Centres will double as Homework Centres to encourage youth to invest in the future of their communities.
“When our youth, who are younger, come into the space, and they are having other young people help them with their homework, can you imagine that engagement and the bond that starts to form? More importantly, they can also now directly flow into the other programmes that we have to offer,” he noted.
He said efforts will also be made to revitalise the youth club movement across the parish to create an avenue through which youth can have a “sense of belonging.”
“When you go to the clubs, you feel important, you have a network of friends, you can get a position, and they give you something to plan,” he said.
Mr. Green explained that the clubs, having been dormant, have created a void which has been filled by the involvement of the youth in gangs.
He said the Innovation Centre will provide the space through which clubs can congregate, meet and plan and, ultimately, become social enterprises that will help to build the community and sustain the clubs.
CAPTION: Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, speaks at the official launch of the Westmoreland Youth Innovation Centre, at Llandilo, on Thursday (May 31).