Young offenders inspired by Agent Sasco’s hands-on approach to ‘We Transform’ programme

Jeffrey “Agent Sasco” Campbell performs at the recent launch of the Ministry of National Security’s Liv Gud/Goals 4 Life Inter-Community Football Competition, at the Breezy Castle football field in Kingston. (Photo: Michael Sloley, JIS)

He is best known across the length and breadth of Jamaica as Agent Sasco, but among Ministry of National Security officials, the name Jeffery Campbell is more familiar. 

The dancehall artiste has been closely involved with the ministry’s ‘We Transform’ programme since 2017 as an ambassador and mentor.

Launched in 2017, the We Transform programme focuses on facilitating the rehabilitation and reintegration of youth offenders who are placed in the four juvenile remand centres.

The programme targets more than 200 children between 12 and 17 years of age in the facilities as well as youth offenders monitored by the island’s 16 Community Service (probation) Offices.

In an interview with JIS News at the launch of the Ministry’s Liv Gud/Goals 4 Life Inter-Community Football Competition recently, Campbell said he always had an interest in being a citizen who contributes to the development and improvement of society.

“We all talk about the Jamaica that we want to live in, and I come to understand and appreciate that initiatives like We Transform and Liv Gud Football Competition can move us closer to the Jamaica that I would like to see, with communities knowing how to live with each other. I am just trying to do whatever I can with the time that I have, to effect change if it is possible,” he explained.

Campbell was recently recognised by the ministry for his work with juveniles in the care of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), where he was commended by State Minister Rudyard Spencer.

State Minister for National Security, Rudyard Spencer (centre); and Acting Chief Technical Director, Shauna Trowers (right), present a trophy to We Transform ambassador and mentor, Jeffrey Campbell, who has been deeply involved with the programme over the years. (Photo contributed)

 “He has been relentless in his efforts at providing financial assistance as well as his time, energy and skills to the educational development of over 200 young men at Metcalfe,” Spencer told JIS News.

Meanwhile, Acting Policy Director, Offender Management, Rehabilitation Policy & Parole Board Administration and We Transform Programme Manager, Ella Ghartey, echoed Spencer’s sentiments.

“Jeffrey has demonstrated a true commitment to his role as mentor to the boys, so much so that he comes up with his own initiatives to engage them and has become increasingly involved in our various activities. He has shown a genuine interest in advancing the well-being of the young men who we seek to rehabilitate and empower to become upstanding citizens. This is particularly important for our young men, some of whom do not have positive role models to emulate,” she said.

Expressing humility at being lauded for his work with the youth, Campbell endorses the work being done by the ministry to engage youth and vulnerable communities.

“We know we are in a culture of criticising and talking about what doesn’t work, but all I know is if you don’t try something, then nothing can work. As long as there is an effort to a particular result, then I am all for it,” he said.

Campbell also applauded the recently launched Liv Gud/Goals 4 Life Inter-Community Football Competition.

Agent Sasco admires the trophy presented to him for his work with the ‘We Transform’ programme, at the Ministry of National Security’s office in Kingston (Photo contributed)

“Sports is one of the structures or systems that can bring people together. It has certainly been the story of my life and there are certain skills that you learn in sports that you can transfer to the wider life, such as teamwork, how to cope with disappointments, how to manage conflicts and those kinds of values,” he said.

Campbell hopes that with sporting competitions such as the Liv Gud/Goals 4 Life Inter-Community Football Competition, positive lessons can be extracted from the games and that communities use them as uniting factors.

The artiste encouraged Jamaicans to explore ways in which they can give back to society. 

“Regardless of what kind of cap you wear or what your profession is, any well-meaning Jamaican should appreciate that we all have a part to play in the Jamaica that we want to see,” he added.

Campbell is among a group of public figures, including artiste Jermaine Edwards, model Kaci Fennell-Shirley, Miss Jamaica World 2017, Solange Sinclair, and singer/songwriter Naomi Cowan, who have gone to various juvenile institutions to engage the youth through the We Transform programme.