People’s National Party, PNP, President, Dr. Peter Phillips says there’s a correlation between the shift system in schools and the prevalence of crime and violence in the country.

According to Dr Phillips, the shift system allows children far too much idle time, which is exploited by gangs looking to recruit new members.

Dr. Phillips also says the shift system isn’t the only malady plaguing what he describes as the country’s broken education sector.

He was speaking yesterday at the Opposition PNP’s Crime and Violence Prevention Summit at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown, Kingston.

The shift system was introduced in the 1970s to provide high-school access for students. The government is currently trying to phase out the shift system in schools.

The Opposition PNP says there’s strong support for an EPOC- like body to monitor and execute the anti-crime measures proposed at its crime and violence prevention summit yesterday.

EPOC’s the government’s economic oversight committee which monitors and evaluates the country’s economic performance.

President of the Private Sector Organization of Jamaica, PSOJ, Howard Mitchell called on the government and the Opposition to implement the EPOC- like body to determine the framework for crime prevention. He says the special body would provide the extraordinary resources and monitoring needed to execute a crime plan.

In a statement yesterday following the Opposition’s anti-crime summit, the PNP called for the examination of several probes and other JCF strategic reports.

The probes date back to the Wolfe Report and the Report from the Commission of Enquiry into the Tivoli Gardens Incursion. The Opposition says it agrees the reports must be re-examined and the recommendations implemented urgently.

Meanwhile, the PNP says there’s an urgent need for changes to the values and attitudes programmes in schools. 

It also called for greater financial support to entities engaged in violence interruption, such as the Peace Management Initiative, PMI and various women’s groups. It’s also calling for support for a safety and security programme for university students.