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Social intervention begins in Mount Salem

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — Prime Minister Andrew Holness is reporting that the Social Intervention Committee has started working in the Mount Salem zone of special operations (ZOSO), in St James.

Providing an update in the House of Representatives yesterday, the prime minister said the first formal social intervention on a large scale was the Mount Salem Community Services Fair, which took place over the period September 9-10.

This was hosted by the Social Intervention Committee with the aim of supporting the delivery of social services related to identification, health and youth development to residents of Mount Salem.  

Holness said a preliminary assessment revealed that approximately 1,400 services were delivered, and in most instances beneficiaries accessed multiple services.

The services delivered included the provision of civil documentation (258 persons applied for birth certificates, 72 persons applied for Tax Registration Numbers, and 41 persons applied for the National Insurance Scheme) and the provision of health services (237 persons were examined by general practitioners; 470 persons received dental services, which included general examinations, cleaning and extractions; and 156 persons received optical services, such as eye screening).

In addition, residents benefited from the provision of Training Services (43 persons were registered for HEART/NTA, two persons received job placements, 17 persons registered for training courses; 11 persons registered for HOPE apprenticeship programmes, and 13 persons received call centre placement). Social services, inclusive of welfare and counselling, were also provided.

Some 55 persons registered for benefits from the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) and 46 persons registered for food handlers' permits.

Holness said the activities of the Social Intervention Committee will continue to increase as assessments and planning are conducted by its various entities.  

He informed that the National Works Agency (NWA) has conducted an assessment on the condition of the roads and the thoroughfares in the community.

"On Sunday, I met with executives of the NWA, and they have reserved some funds to immediately begin addressing roads, drainage and, where possible, to deal with some beautification within the area," Holness said.

He also informed that discussions have also been held with the Minister of Local Government and Community Development and the Head of the National Solid Waste Management Authority to step up its efforts to improve sanitation within the community.

Holness  added that National Energy Solutions Limited (NESol), formerly Rural Electrification Programme, an agency under the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology, has been mandated to assist with providing electricity to areas within the Zone that do not have adequate lighting.

Mount  Salem was declared  the  first ZOSO on September 1  under the Law Reform (Zones of Special Operations) (Special Security and Community Development Measures) Act, 2017, which gives the security forces certain essential powers required to address serious crimes, while upholding the rule of law and protecting citizens' fundamental rights and freedoms.

The legislation, which was passed by the House of Representatives and Senate, will also facilitate the implementation of key social interventions in communities adversely affected by crime and violence.