Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, has called for Corporate Jamaica to partner with the Government to help more of the nation’s youth acquire skills and competencies as part of the development of the country’s human capital. Minister Shaw argued that the country’s greatest crisis was not crime but the issue of human underdevelopment. He was delivering the keynote address at the graduation ceremony for the CAC 2000 Foundation/Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Air-Conditioning Technicians Training Programme at the AC Hotel in Kingston on Thursday (September 12). Story Highlights Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw, has called for Corporate Jamaica to partner with the Government to help more of the nation’s youth acquire skills and competencies as part of the development of the country’s human capital.He was delivering the keynote address at the graduation ceremony for the CAC 2000 Foundation/Jamaica Social Investment Fund’s (JSIF) Air-Conditioning Technicians Training Programme at the AC Hotel in Kingston on Thursday (September 12).Minister Shaw argued that the country’s greatest crisis was not crime but the issue of human underdevelopment.“By far, the most fundamental crisis that we face as a country is a crisis of human underdevelopment and where there is human underdevelopment there is the alternative development programme – murder, mayhem, lotto scamming – and so we have some work to do,” he said.Mr. Shaw noted that the example demonstrated by the CAC 2000 Foundation in partnering with JSIF to train 132 youth from communities in Kingston, St. Catherine and St. James should be a source of inspiration for Corporate Jamaica to get involved in the process of human development.“This is the kind of partnership that I need to see, that we need to see more of in Jamaica – partnership between the public sector and the private sector.“It’s the partnerships that can work, it’s a model that I would like to have spread across the country like a tsunami, and it has to be done with a sense of urgency,” he stressed.The Minister, during his address, lauded the 72 graduates, who completed the five to six-month-long air-conditioning course in seven batches. There were 10 dropouts, while 50 other youth, who have not yet qualified for graduation, will continue in the programme.The training, which falls under the Alternative Livelihood Skills Programme, is a sub-project under JSIF’s $69-million Integrated Community Development Project, which seeks to provide 3,000 youths with skills training, employability enhancement and employment.The programme targets young people aged 17 to 29 from 18 underserved communities across the island.
“After my meeting with the President yesterday, we have a clear agreement that our Regional Office will from now on work closely with all five Central Asian Republics,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, told a press conference in Tashkent, the country’s capital. “I am extremely happy that I myself, my Office and my staff are now set to play an active role in trying to secure a future where every citizen and resident of Uzbekistan has their human rights observed, and state-sponsored violations become a distant memory,” Mr. Zeid added. He recalled that when the Regional Office was established in Kyrgyzstan’s capital, Bishkek, in 2008, Uzbekistan made it clear that the office covered four countries, not five.Citing a series of recent Government initiatives, Mr. Zeid said that human rights figure prominently across the five sets of priorities laid out in President Shavkat Mirziyoyev’s 2017-21 Action Strategy. The five priorities are: improving the public administration system; ensuring rule of law, and reform of the justice system; developing and liberalizing the economy; developing the social sector; and security, religious tolerance and inter-ethnic harmony, and constructive foreign policy. “The successful implementation of those reforms could have a transformational impact on the country’s future,” Mr. Zeid said. “It is going to be a long and difficult road to get near that point, with obstructions and setbacks, but I do believe the journey has begun.” He said he encouraged the Government to monitor actual human rights results as part of the High Level Government monitoring of the implementation of the Action Strategy. “Needless to say, frameworks and plans are one thing, and results are another – especially when it comes to human rights, when States often make fine promises but fail to back them up with real change,” Mr. Zeid said. He also said he has raised with the authorities the need to continue with the release of more political prisoners, and suggested the Government ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, as it would greatly enhance and accelerate the effort to end torture, one of the issues that has been most damaging to Uzbekistan’s international reputation over the years.He is also recommending – and the Government itself is proposing – closer cooperation with the other parts of the UN human rights system, including the treaty bodies and special procedures, welcoming an intention to invite the Special Rapporteur on the freedom of religion or belief to visit the country. This was the first-ever visit to Uzbekistan by any of the six UN High Commissioners for Human Rights, since the Office of the High Commissioner was established in 1993. “Uzbekistan is, in my view, at a crossroads,” Mr. Zeid said.