Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Social intervention gets vote of confidence

Published:Wednesday | February 26, 2020 | 12:24 AMErica Virtue/Senior Gleaner Writer

The Government’s decision to halt social intervention efforts in depressed communities to stem crime and violence has been rejected by a majority of Jamaicans, according to an RJRGLEANER-commissioned Don Anderson poll.

More than two-thirds of Jamaicans disagree with the Government’s decision to reduce funding to organisations undertaking social intervention programmes in inner-city communities. Seventy-one per cent were opposed to the decision, 18 per cent said yes, while eight per cent said no. Three per cent were unsure.

The findings also showed that 74 per cent of those polled believe that social intervention remains an effective tool in fighting crime in depressed communities.

National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang stunned violence interrupters and community activists in the latter half of 2019 when he said there was little to show for social intervention programmes and that the Government would be reducing its subvention.

Chang’s comments came after the Caribbean Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) said its research suggested that there was insufficient evidence to prove whether social intervention measures had had a significant impact on the violence-plagued community of August Town.

Yesterday, August Town Peacekeepers President Kenneth Wilson said that he felt vindicated by the poll findings.

“Social intervention is a must. The problem is not social intervention. Sustaining it has always been the problem. And I can guarantee that if you spend money on social intervention, you spend less money on gunshots and on the health sector,” he told The Gleaner yesterday.

Wilson said he did not believe the CAPRI findings, given the empirical evidence he has seen in August Town, where the study was conducted.

Chang, in April 2018, sang a different tune on the reach and role of such programmes.

At a stakeholders’ forum on community intervention at the Iberostar Hotel, he said that the Government was committed to a comprehensive programme of social intervention in tackling crime.

erica.virtue@gleanerjm.com