Manchester Parish Safety and Security Forum

Safety Forum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On August 15th 2013 the Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Manchester Parish Council held a Manchester Parish Safety and Security Forum, inviting all members of the public to attend. Key speakers, including our very own MPDC Manager Mrs. Angella Edwards, addressed the attending community members on safety and security issues affecting the Parish. Following the presentations persons were encouraged to ask questions.

Read the full meeting notes below.

Held on August 15, 2013@ 5:30p.m at the Golf View Hotel

Hosted by: Manchester Parish Council and Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Attendance:

Her Worship Mayor Brenda Ramsay, Chairman (MSSC)

Hon. Sally Porteous, Custos Rotulorum of Manchester

Mr. Christopher Powell, Secretary/Manager, MPC

Moderator- Name N/A (From the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development)

Mrs. Wendy Freckleton, President of MCOC

Mrs. Angella Edwards, General Manager, MPDC

Supt. Marlon Nesbeth, Manchester Supt.

Mr. L. Crew, CDA

Mr. Mark Shields, Former Deputy Commissioner of Police

Various other Agencies

100+ Members of the Public

Recorded Start Time: 6:00 p.m

1)      Call to Order- Moderator: Moderator

2)      Apologies for Absence- Moderator

a)       Absent: Ms. Beverley Boothe, Parish Manager of SDC, Ms. Sara-Ruth Allen, INDECOM

3)      Prayer, Councillor Jones Oliphant

4)     Presentations

5)      Welcome and Overview of the Manchester Safety and Security Committee

–          Her Worship Mayor Brenda Ramsey

i)         Assurance of the commitment of the MSSC to public safety and its advancement

6)      The Importance of Human Rights as we Move Forward with the Development of the Parish

–          Hon. Sally Porteous, Custos Rotulorum of Manchester

a)      Violence and Murder rate in Jamaica affecting Jamaica’s ability to attract foreign investment

b)      Violence against homosexuals is a pressing current issue

i)        Affecting Jamaica’s International UN Ranking

ii)       Jamaica is ranked as the 3rd most violent country against homosexuals

iii)     Homosexuals in Jamaica being murdered or assaulted for their sexual orientation; “Thou Shall not Kill”; Jamaica must come together to prevent any violence against any minority group regardless of personal biases

c)       Significant problems with the Bail Act

i)        Current criteria for bail is that the criminal will return for their court date; there should be further criteria in regards to the risk of reoffending

ii)       Criminals released on bail in Manchester are committing crimes immediately after release

(1)    Ex// Man was released on assault charges went on to assault 3 women, with one woman losing sight in both eyes; Man released on charges of raping his 12yr. old daughter was released on bail went on to rape his own 12 yr. old daughter

7)      Actions of the Manchester Parish Council to improve Public Safety and Security

–          Mr. Christopher Powell, Secretary/Manager, MPC

a)      Current Situation

i)        Council gives great attention to Parish safety

ii)       Safety and security issues affect communities as well as the council

(1)    Can reduce investment; can cause businesses to close and relocate to a safer location; can affect the psyche of citizens

iii)     Council has started safety and security initiatives and will continue to embark on these initiatives

b)      Actions/ Initiatives of the Council

i)        Strategically locating places that have unmaintained, empty lots that pose a safety/security risk to the public

(1)    Conducted research on an old law that applies to these conditions

(2)    Applying law to the owners of these lots to clean-up and maintain the lots or face the consequence of losing the rights to the lots

(3)    Currently 7 cases in the courts

ii)       Working with JPSCO to repair street lights

(1)    1250 lights fixed to date under initiative

iii)     Working with health officials in regards to the welfare of homeless persons

(1)    Currently embarking on an initiative to provide meals and services for mental health issues for homeless persons

c)       Future Plans

i)        Continue to enhance current initiatives

ii)       The police have identified lots that Council will clean-up

8)      The Impact of the MSSC on the Business Community

–          Mrs. Wendy Freckleton, President of the MCOC

a)      Safety and security is everybody’s business

b)      A few years ago, there was never any talk about the crime in Mandeville (increase in crime)

c)       Business community must play a role in reducing violence and crime to induce a downward trend

d)      Encouraged businesses to partner with MCOC to install more CCTV

e)      MCOC has invested in revitalizing the police station

i)        Revitalized barracks and recreational space

ii)       Focused on the functionality of the police station and of police officers in order to ensure they are able to properly fulfill their roles

iii)     In 1 month, the MCOC will donate a motor bike to the police station from KL motors

f)       Mentorship

i)        We must revert back to the days of taking a youth on the corner under your wing and mentoring them

9)      The Role of the PDC and Citizens for Improved Safety and Security”

–          Mrs. Angella Edwards, General Manager, PDC

a)      Overview of PDC

b)      PDC provides a forum for citizens to have a voice in the development of their communities

i)        Therefore the PDC’s involvement in the MSSC is very important

ii)       The role of the PDC in the MSSC is directly affected by the direction that the citizens give to the PDC in regards to safety and security

10)   Importance of Partnerships for the Improved Safety and Commitment to the MSSC

–          Supt.  Marlon Nesbeth, Manchester Supt.

a)      This committee is the committee that will make sure that things are done to resolve safety and security issues

b)      Only through partnerships in the private and public sector can MSSC make gains in fighting violence and achieve its goals

c)       Current Situation

i)        A general decrease in major crimes

ii)       Robberies continue to be a  pressing issue

iii)     Domestic violence is a major issue

(1)    65% of murders are domestic

iv)     Witness compliance is very weak, and we must figure out a way in which the moral duty to report crimes outweighs the fear of harm

v)      Police encourage Manchurian’s to conduct business transactions within the police station in order to provide security

vi)     The police are proactively making strategies to fight crime and violence in Manchester

vii)   Need to respond to first reports of disputes to ensure further violence doesn’t occur

viii)  Currently and continually engaging other agencies to help with crime reduction

11)   The Safety and Security of Children

–          Mr. L. Crew, CDA

a)      Mission Statement

b)      Children are our future and it is up to us to ensure a secure future for them

c)       It is the responsibility of everyone to report child abuse

d)      Increase in:

i)        Physical and sexual abuse

ii)       Human trafficking

12)   DNA Markings as a Means of Securing Property

–          Mr. Mark Shields

a)      Selecta DNA

i)        A synthetic DNA that can be applied to property and registered into a system

ii)       Stolen items can be located within the register once detected with a UV light

iii)     Digicel donated $1 million JAD for UV flashlights

iv)     The presence of this technology has shown a drastic reduction in crime rates as it deters criminals from stealing if they are aware the technology is in place

(1)    Signage is an important aspect to show robber that technology is present

(2)    Robber’s will move to softer targets

v)      Deterring robberies is about prevention!

Question and Answer Session

1)      Question: When persons are killed the most used weapon is guns. Guns are made abroad. What is the JCF doing to secure the importing of guns?

a)      Answer (Supt. Nesbeth): Things are being done to address this issue; working with intel; guns have been intercepted from Haiti; doing more to secure ports through collaboration with other agencies

2)      Question: Who gives the person applying for Bail the form?

a)      Answer (Supt. Nesbeth): The court; question was retracted by guest because he realized that this wasn’t the appropriate forum for this question

3)      Question: What are you doing for the new school year to deal with juvenile delinquents in the town centre?

a)      Answer (Supt. Nesbeth): Currently working on strategies to get children off the streets and home; prepared for new school year; may use unorthodox means, but it works

4)      Question: Is there another criterion that should be taken into account when granting bail?

a)      Answer: Not in the jurisdiction of the JCF

5)      Question: Will there a Food Safety/Security Commission be established?

a)      Answer: That is a great idea and will be looked into

6)      Question: Aren’t there lots that are unmaintained that are owned by the PC? What is being done about these lots?

a)      Answer: The Council doesn’t own these lots, they are owned by private persons but the Council hold these properties in trust/name. It is the owners duty to keep the property maintained

7)      Question: There are roads left undone in subdivisions that need the Council’s Attention. What is being done about these roads?

a)      Answer: Council cannot legally take-over roads that aren’t built to a certain standard. Council will make proposal to sub-divisions to make gains in addressing these issues

8)      JCOC’s president is not in support of the Citizens for Employment Initiative. Does he speak for the MCOC/does the MCOC support this initiative?

a)      Answer: JCOC is a separate entity and does not speak for MCOC. MCOC supports any initiatives that will create employment opportunities for Jamaican’s

9)      There is a significant need for first responders. Is it possible to train volunteer firefighters as first responders?

a)      Answer: Preliminary talks have begun in council to discuss this idea. Currently trying to work out liability issues in training volunteer firemen

10)   Is there research being done on the influence of the drug trade (specifically ganja) on the business community?

a)      Answer: May need to open a dialogue; most of the problems around drugs start outside of Manchester, there aren’t significant ganja fields in Manchester

11)   What are the alternatives/ how are we counteracting the negative effects of fear of harm from witnesses? Can we invest in technology in order to make witnesses feel safe and therefore be more proactive with providing witness statements?

a)      Answer: Systems in place to protect witnesses; never lost anyone in that program; need for a change in the informal culture to address lack of compliancy; Mr. Fields admitted that police here aren’t very good at dealing with witnesses; trying to create specific police roles to care for vulnerable witnesses

Vote of Thanks- Mr. Powell

Meeting Finished @ 8:15p.m

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