Andrew Holness
**FILE** Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness speaks to the media on Downing Street following a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May and representatives of Caribbean countries on April 17, 2018 in London, England. The UK government has apologised after people from the so-called Windrush Generation, who arrived to Britain years ago as children, were now being incorrectly identified as illegal immigrants.. (Photo by Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness believes a system of compulsory national service is needed to promote active participation by citizens in the development agenda. He said that such a program would positively engage unattached youth and steer them away from crime.

“I think we need a system of compulsory national service. When I see our youngsters being dragged off into gangs and being recruited for nefarious activities when there is so much that they could do in the national interest, in their own interest that could transform our culture, I think that is something we should really be considering.”

“It is something that I am considering, but the question is, is the society ready,” Holness said.

He was addressing the Edward Phillip George Seaga Inaugural Human Development Lecture held recently at the University of Technology (UTech) campus, St. Andrew.

Prime Minister Holness said that a system of apprenticeship is also needed to build the country’s human capital.

“If there is one thing that I would like to see in legislation is the full introduction of a system of apprenticeship. I think that is absolutely important if we are going to leapfrog in where we are in terms of skills,” he noted.

“I think it is critically important that we now move to the next step of ensuring that we have a well-articulated and implemented system of apprenticeship, and as the society progresses, we can establish a system of national service,” the Prime Minister added.

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