Some $1 billion was spent under the Citizen Security and Justice Programme (CSJP) last year on interventions to benefit young people in volatile communities across the island. Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting, made the disclosure, as he addressed a scholarship award ceremony held recently in Mount Salem, St. James. He commended the CSJP for the role it has been playing in the implementation of social interventions, in an effort to combat crime and interpersonal violence in communities. He noted that the programme, which operates in 50 communities across some eight parishes “is seeking to ensure that person’s socio-economic conditions are improved and protected on a sustainable basis, thereby limiting the amount of criminal activities in those areas.” The primary areas of engagement are community mobilisation and governance, development of community multi-purpose centres, opening of restorative justice centres, and a comprehensive social marketing campaign, targeting at-risk youth and men. There is also the ongoing delivery of violence prevention services including tuition support, skills training and job placement. “The most recent initiative in that regard has to do with some 250 young persons, who have been apprenticed to the Engineering Regiment of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and getting real life on-the-job training as well as the discipline that the army brings to all their operations,” Minister Bunting said. The Minister, in the meantime, congratulated the 175 young people from CSJP communities in western Jamaica, who were presented with scholarships valued at $19 million, to fund their tertiary education. He urged them to remain focused “stay in school, do well and come out as graduates that will make your parents and community proud”. The CSJP is a multi-faceted crime and violence prevention initiative focusing on building community safety and reducing poverty.