Jamaicans are being urged to come together at the community level to chart a course for the development of their parish.
Making the call at the Hanover Parish Development Symposium in Lucea yesterday (February 25), Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, said that the task of planning for development cannot be the job of the Government alone.
“The people have to be active partners in the process. Governance demands that the people must now form themselves into their own community organisations and begin the advocacy process of agitating for the development for their community,”
Mr. Montague noted, adding that future generations stand to benefit from the decisions made.
The series of island-wide symposia, now being undertaken, are to engage residents in planning for the sustainable development of their communities and parishes over the next 20 years.
Minister Montague said it was the Prime Minister, who instructed that the Local Government team go out into the communities and invite the “real experts” to “come to one place and discuss their future.”
“I believe that there exists no better expert to tell me how Dias, or Askenish or any other community in Hanover should be developed than the people who live in these communities. So, the Prime Minister instructed us to sit down with the people and ask them of their vision for their community and their parish. We have gone a step further by inviting the various agencies to be in on the planning, so that no agency from here on can sit in Kingston and decide what is good for the people of Hanover. They must make reference to the document now being developed,” Minister Montague stated.
“I therefore entreat the people of Hanover, participating in this symposium, to sit down with the representatives of the National Health Fund, the National Water Commission, the Rural Electrification Programme, HEART/NTA and others and engage them in worthwhile discussions as together, you chart the way forward for the development of your community,” he added.
The Hanover symposium was the seventh to be held in parishes across Jamaica under the theme: ‘My community, our parish, one Jamaica – my vision’.