KINGSTON, Jamaica, Friday July 14, 2017 – The Jamaican diaspora is stepping up to help authorities in the island to fight crime.
Head of the Jamaica Diaspora Crime Intervention and Prevention Task Force, Dr. Rupert Francis, says the task force has pooled professionals from a broad spectrum to aid in the country’s fight against crime.
“We will bring to bear the criminal-justice operators or professionals, whether in psychology, sociology and any aspects of these professions that can help anyone to understand why crime exists, how it exists, reasons it exists and [how] we can stem it. Also, we would be introducing various aspects of law enforcement that have worked in the past from the community, social, political and economic levels,” he said.
The Jamaica Diaspora Crime Intervention and Prevention Task Force was formed last year by members of the Jamaican community living in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Among its members are Chief of the Homicide Division in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Captain Peter Whittingham; Senior Intelligence Analyst, Herbert Nelson Jr, and former Chief of Police in Winnipeg, Canada, Devon Clunis.
Members of the task force came to Jamaica last October on a fact-finding and project-planning mission. During the visit, they met with the Ministers of National Security and Justice as well as some State agencies.
Out of this, an executive report was developed that outlined a number of goals to be achieved. These included the roll-out of an Intelligence Fusion Centre; the creation of a Safer Cities programme; and working with the Ministry of Justice to reduce the backlog of court cases.
Dr. Francis said the group intends to offer assistance in the area of cyber security as well as to create a programme for at-risk youth.
He is advocating for the community and church to be involved in the crime-fighting process.
“The people cannot get anywhere, especially with the current spurt in crime and murders, and especially against women and children. We have to get them involved as stakeholders for them to understand that this is something that affects all of us, not just some of us,” he said.
Dr. Francis, who is scheduled to participate in the Jamaica 55 Diaspora Conference scheduled for July 23-26 in Kingston, said the taskforce wants to host a town hall meeting on the last day of the event.
“We are looking forward to interact and answer questions on behalf of the diaspora from the Jamaican public, or anybody who is interested. We are hoping to have representatives there from all the security forces. We want people to understand what we are trying to do. We want to bridge the gap between those who serve and the average civilian,” he said.
The Professor and retired Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Captain said he is hopeful that Jamaica will experience change, and that the diaspora takes very seriously its role in the process.
“We want to make sure that people understand that we will never forget where we are coming from and we do believe in it, and we want to make sure that it is a safe place to be. We are one Jamaica, and we must speak with one voice for one purpose, for the enhancement of Jamaica and ridding our country from all of this criminal activity. I think that if we all get together and put our hearts, hands and minds together, we will be able to resolve these issues,” he said.