SDC and NSWMA Lauded for Undertaking Transformational Work

Photo: Rodger Hutchinson A member of the work crew puts domestic waste in the back of a National Solid Waste Management Authority compactor truck. (FILE)

Story Highlights

  • The Social Development Commission (SDC) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) are being hailed for undergoing significant and transformational adjustments to their operations.
  • The staff were recently congratulated by Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie for their work in transforming the public image of both institutions.
  • Meanwhile, Executive Director of the SDC, Dr. Dwayne Vernon is pleased with Minister McKenzie’s assessment, noting that this was a major plus for the agency’s staff, who are doing all they can to make a positive impact on the Jamaican populace.

The Social Development Commission (SDC) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) are being hailed for undergoing significant and transformational adjustments to their operations.

The staff were recently congratulated by Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie for their work in transforming the public image of both institutions.

“I believe the SDC stands out as a flagship organisation, based on the work that they have been doing across the country. Also, if you talk about an organisation that has improved, that people have started to talk about in a different light, the NSWMA, to me, is the most improved organisation within the Ministry of Local Government,” he says.

He was addressing the Ministry’s Christmas staff function held at Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston in December.

Chairman of the NSWMA, Dennis Chung, while acknowledging the Minister’s commendation, notes that much remains to be accomplished.

“I don’t think that we are where we want to be yet. But we’ve implemented a lot of things to ensure better delivery of service and better communication to allow the public to understand the role of the NSWMA. Hopefully, in another three months, the public will see significant improvement in our operations,” he says.

Throughout the year, the NSWMA continued its waste-reduction initiatives, as well as collection and disposal activities, even as the agency works to bring about transformation in its service delivery.

To this end, NSWMA is seeking to initiate public-private arrangements for garbage collection. This is aimed at improving efficiency by putting more units on the streets.

Additionally, 17 new Renault trucks have been ordered, which are scheduled to arrive in February, while the procurement for another 13 trucks later this year is under way.

Regarding corporate governance, Mr. Chung points out that much work has been done and that several financial, operational and human resource management decisions have been implemented, with favourable results.

“I think that has helped a whole lot, as we now understand what the whole governance issue is and the things that we need to address,” he notes.

New weight scales and a new scale house were established at the Riverton disposal site in Kingston, in the financial year, allowing for greater accuracy when weighing refuse transported to the facility by truck and compactor operators.

Mr. Chung also points out that the NSWMA, made efforts to pay operators within reasonable time, clearing off backlogs in the process, while taking steps to improve the morale of staff.

“I can safely say that the morale has improved. Since the (appointment of the) new Board and the new executive director, a lot of the initiatives we had on the cards we were able to get done,” he affirms.

Meanwhile, Executive Director of the SDC, Dr. Dwayne Vernon is pleased with Minister McKenzie’s assessment, noting that this was a major plus for the agency’s staff, who are doing all they can to make a positive impact on the Jamaican populace.

“We have made tremendous gains in terms of the governance of the organisation, ensuring improvement of all our systems (finance and administration), streamlining the work of the organisation, easier communication with communities, developing partnerships with state and non-state actors, and improving on-the-ground involvement,” he tells JIS News.

The SDC has also been assisting individuals (at the micro level) to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship and develop their business plans through the Local Economic Development Support Programme (LEDSP).

In this regard, some 244 economic development support plans have been completed, 306 capacity building sessions held, 55 business models completed and 73 project proposals have been developed.

“We have over 1,000 persons employed through these initiatives. These are persons who had ideas and were probably trying to (get going). What we have done is to improve what they have been doing, to become more marketable, more viable. So because of the work we’ve done, they’ve improved their product and have employed more persons,” Dr. Vernon notes.

Other programmes that have helped the agency meet its mandate include the Community Priority Planning programme, which helps communities develop and submit small projects for funding.

More than $600 million of funding has already been secured over the last 24 months for community projects through this programme.

The agency also continues to host business fairs across the country. These are opportunities for training and for entrepreneurs to expose their products and services.

JIS Social