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JIS News

The Clarendon office of the Social Development Commission (SDC) is moving to strengthen community organization through the establishment of Development Area Committees (DACs).
Nakeima Peters, SDC Field Services Manager for Upper Clarendon, told JIS News that the DACs were being developed to fulfill the Commission’s long-term mandate of promoting sustainable development by setting up the proper governance structures locally.
“Clarendon has been divided into three development areas, which have been recognised as integral to the local government reform process. These areas are the Vere Plains development area, the May Pen development area and the Upper Clarendon development Area. We are now working in these areas to establish the DACs as we have to promote strong governance structures in our parish,” she said.
According to Ms. Peters, each area was at different levels of establishment but by the end of this year, Clarendon would have three fully established DACs.
She pointed out that the DAC was important as it was expected to create a forum for all stakeholders to discuss issues that were important to their area and to make plans to address the issues; gather the necessary information for development planning; review development strategies and synchronize these plans in consultation with all stakeholders; and ensure that the stated strategies were incorporated in planning at the parish level.
She said also, that the DAC should identify the representative to the Parish Development Committee; and the chairman should report to the committee, all activities taking place in the parish and its effect on the DAC.
Setting up the committees, Ms. Peters said, would be accomplished by involving several sectors of society including the political, educational, religious, community, business, government and non-government groups.
She explained further, that since last year, one of the strategies that had been adopted was the use of area-wide consultations especially in the Vere and May Pen areas, to further sensitize community members about the DACs and highlight the committees’ work. According to Ms. Peters, the DAC could not have been formed without laying the proper foundation.
“Initially, we had to be preparing the structures on the ground.and ensuring that their capacity was built. It is out of these structures that we have been able to establish the DACs in conjunction with some of the other stakeholder streams,” she stated.
She informed that a lot of work had been carried out this year in the area of research in order to equip the Community Development Councils with the relevant information to adequately represent the community at the DAC level.
“We want to ensure that at the end of the day, proper planning and development takes place in Clarendon, the governance structures are well seated at all levels and involve the inputs of all stakeholders in the parish,” Ms. Peters told JIS News.
Clarendon is comprised of some 77 communities; 38 in the Upper Clarendon development area, 26 in May Pen and 13 in the Vere Plains.