Launched in Norwood, Montego Bay, St James
Remarks - Launch of Reducing Small Arms & Light Weapons programme
June 21, 2022
UNDP Resident Representative, Denise E Antonio
Launch of Reducing Small Arms and Light Weapons Joint Programme
Jamaica Evangelistic Centre, Norwood Chapter, Montego Bay, St James
Friday 17 June, 10 a.m.
• The Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of National Security
• Dr. Garry Conille, United Nations Resident Coordinator
• Other members of the United Nations Country Team
• Mr Junior Rose, Senior Director, Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development
• Pastor Olivia Dixon, Jamaica Evangelistic Centre
• CDC Presidents from Norwood and Denham Town, Mr. Dalton Spence and Mr Dellon Gayle
• Members of the media
• My brothers and sisters
I greet you this morning as partners for a violent free Jamaica. As ambassadors of your community and champions for peace.
But first, I must state a few things that are obviously true: Some of us here today have seen too much bloodshed. We have seen too many guns in the wrong hands. Too many senselessly murdered. Killed before they could become the doctor to treat us. The scientist to innovate our future. The business leader to hire us. Many of our communities know pain and loss that many of us have never witnessed.
Yet, our collective resilience remains a driving force in transforming our communities and reducing violence. Your communities bring meaningful insight and deep understanding of the violence being experienced.
The programme we launch today, Reducing Small Arms and Light Weapons, also known as SALIENT Joint programme, requires your support, collaboration and involvement.
SALIENT aims to dismantle the factors that make it possible for guns to flow into the country, and into the hands of criminals while addressing the root causes of violence.
Therefore, expertise from the policy and law enforcement branches, combined with your experience will help us secure impact. SALIENT tackles the supply and use of small arms and light weapons from multiple entry points – namely, legislation, policy, strategy, training, investigations, law enforcement and data collection.
Behaviour modification will also play a key role in the SALIENT programme. Young people in Denham Town and Norwood, will receive training in conflict resolution.
We will also work with our teachers and guidance counsellors, to strengthen their capacity to support our youth in schools.
Thanks, Minister Chang, for advocating for the first ever Violence Audit in Jamaica that will be piloted in the communities of Norwood and Denham Town under this SALIENT programme. The Violence Audit is intended to unveil the causes, drivers and impact of violence to guide strategic interventions for the future.
Residents of Norwood and Denham Town! Our team will be out to conduct the audit and we need your full participation to ensure that accurate and relevant information is shared.
We also give you our word that SALIENT will build on any existing project that demonstrates the potential to help cut the supply and use of firearms in schools and communities.
My brothers and sisters we are paying a high price for crime. In 2021, data shows that nearly 1,464 persons were murdered– the highest homicide rate in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Crime also has severe negative impacts on the economy and hinders the standard of living we deserve – the World Bank says 68 billion Jamaican Dollars a year (2017). Think of roads that could be paved, hungry fed, and schools and houses built.
We must therefore remain steadfast and bold in testing and testing and testing strategic interventions until we perfect formulas that work for us.
SALIENT is a comprehensive solution to this end, representing an investment of 74.6 million Jamaican dollar from the SALIENT Fund established by UNDP and the United Nations Organization for Disarmament Affairs. SALIENT will run for 12 months under the leadership of the Ministry of National Security, and will be implemented by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and several UN agencies including:
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
- United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), and
- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
UNDP remains committed to the process of supporting Jamaica’s Vision 2030 ambition of becoming a just, cohesive and secure society. Partnership is the key to realizing this goal.
I remain even more hopeful that your beautiful country and you, the resilient people of Jamaica, will embrace the vision of becoming the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.
SALIENT tackles the supply and use of small arms and light weapons from multiple entry points – namely, legislation, policy, strategy, training, investigations, law enforcement and data collection.Denise E Antonio, UNDP Resident Representative
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