The Government of Jamaica has thrown its support behind Project STAR by making available representatives of key government ministries, departments and agencies to provide technical guidance to the project through a technical stakeholder working group.
Among the agencies that make up the working group are the Social Development Commission (SDC), Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Ministry of National Security, Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), HEART Trust NSTA, Citizen Safety and Security Branch (CSSB) of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Citizen Security Secretariat.
Saffrey Brown, project director of Project STAR said that the technical stakeholder working group is an invaluable support to the initiative as it will be providing the necessary guidance so that the objectives of the project may be realised.
“The Technical Stakeholder Working Group falls within Project STAR’s governance structure as the main channel for engaging, coordinating and collaborating with government ministries, departments and agencies,” she explained.
Shauna Trowers, chief technical director at the Ministry of National Security in-charge of crime prevention, rehabilitation, inspectorate and policy— who is a member of the technical stakeholder group—said that Project STAR is a great initiative that provides for effective collaboration between the private sector and the government.
“It supports the overall ethos of citizens security; looking not only on crime but the underlying incidents of violence that may lead to crime. I believe that the Technical Stakeholder Working Group is made up of all the key stakeholders in government from the macro level with PIOJ to the micro level through the involvement of the SDC, which works with the community,” she outlined.
“The Ministry of National Security supports any initiative that looks at a holistic approach to crime prevention. Project STAR has the tagline ‘Everybody Fahwud’ and that is exactly what the public health methodology says in terms of citizens, security, everybody needs to work together in a cohesive manner,” she added.
She noted that the project has set the stage for positive change in the communities that it is working in and if these changes are successful, it will have a ripple effect on the society and a reduction in crime and violence.
“It took us a long time to get here. I do not think that it will be a silver bullet that is going to create the change. There must be ownership at all levels, at the governmental, the private sector and at the individual level. So, if there is the proper messaging that is backed up by programmes and projects such as this, I do believe that there will be a ripple effect,” she said.
Charles Clayton, programme director for the community renewal programme at the PIOJ who is also a member of the Working Group said that the approach taken by Project STAR is encouraging as it attempts to leverage support from multiple agencies and to target information that is available rather than ad hoc.
“This approach will ensure that the things that need to be done will be targeted and the space that need to be targeted will be targeted so we look forward to the work being done by Project STAR and we hope that the kind of support that is relying on [will be realized],” he said.
He informed that over the life of the project, he is hoping for a more enhanced approach to address the issues and challenges in communities such as sustained capacity building.