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Social Issues

September, 2019
Thematic Area: 

Jamaica's extraordinarily high levels of violence undermine citizen security and retard economic growth.
Over the past two decades, dozens of state and non-state actors, in a desire for peace, have initiated
several violence-reduction/ intervention programmes in August Town. So when, in 2016, the violence plagued
community recorded “zero murders,” all of Jamaica took note. The cries about how this was achieved,
which, with the exception of 2016 remain unchanged. After decades of extraordinarily high violence, with a
homicide rate of 120 per 100,000, how did August Town achieve this?

With reference to August Town’s “zero murders” in 2016, this study explores the various theories with
the objective to distil “lessons” from August Town’s experience, particularly as it regards anti-violence
interventions, with the aim to build knowledge on the different approaches to reducing violence in high
violence settings; and ultimately to inform GoJ decisions regarding the direction of and investment in
violence prevention intervention programmes in violence-ridden communities.

Joanna Callen


Joanna’s current research focus is on the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) funded project, Collaborating to Transform Citizen Security A Yaad. She earned an M.A.

November, 2018
Thematic Area: 

Jamaicans must face some uncomfortable truths about our violent crime problem. One such truth is that if we are to significantly lower the rates of homicide and other violent crimes and  weaken the power of criminal networks in the society, we cannot avoid a renewed attempt at a thorough transformation of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).  This transformation should bring the force more in line with democratic policing principles and methods of work and make it more effective as an instrument of crime prevention and control. 

July, 2017
Thematic Area: 

Ascertaining the true cost of providing an undergraduate degree in Jamaica is critical for students, ter ary ins tu ons, and government policy-makers. For prospective and current university students, understanding the real cost of a degree may force them to make more cost-effective choices, thus, reducing the cost barrier to educa on and increasing the likelihood of nishing their degree programme. For policy-makers, this informa on is important in order to make decisions that ultimately enhance access to and choice of a aining a ter ary education. Lastly, ter ary ins tu ons, and by extension the government, would be interested in decreasing this barrier (the real cost) to tertiary education which in turn would increase access, enrolment, and contribute more significantly to economic development. 



May, 2016
Thematic Area: 
Most Jamaicans dream of owning a ‘big house on the hill’. While many would settle for a basic two-bedroom, concrete structure with just the basic amenities, houses are nonetheless expensive assets that require a substantial portion of buyers’ lifetime incomes. The National Housing Trust (NHT) was established in the belief that homeownership could be facilitated by a public mortgage body that built homes and subsidised the loans to purchase them. However, the current accumulated capital of J$126 billion, along with an additional J$76 billion in employee contributions held in the Trust, raises the following questions: (i) How much money does the NHT need to carry out its mandate in the way it has been doing? (ii) Is the NHT meeting its mandate? (iii) Is it using the right approach to deliver on its mandate?
January, 2013
Thematic Area: 

Public expenditure on education in Jamaica continues to surpass the average for developing countries, yet low test scores attest to a haemorrhaging education system. This paper assesses the current status and future prospects of nine critical dimensions of education in Jamaica.

November, 2012
Thematic Area: 

The value of the lottery scam in Jamaica is estimated to be as much as US$300 million in one year. As a small developing state with a strong ICT infrastructure, Jamaica has been a haven for international investors seeking to cash in.

November, 2009
Thematic Area: 

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) recently concluded by the European Union and CARIFORUM (the countries of CARICOM plus the Dominical Republic) replaces the Lomé arrangements and will govern trade between the two regions going forward. Using a computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, this exercise traces the economic impact of the tariff reductions on European Union imports into the Caribbean and consequently on the economies in the region.

November, 2009
Thematic Area: 

Given the scarcity of fiscal revenue in the country, the resources needed to improve the education system will have to be generated, not through new cash, but through re-allocation. This brief examines the current tertiary funding model and presents funding alternatives.