Community Resource Centre Set up in Rockfort

Photo: Yhomo Hutchinson Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott (4th right); and Mission Director at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Denise A. Herbol (3rd left), unveil the signage for the new community resource centre in the East Kingston community of Rockfort, which was officially opened on November 5. Looking on are (from left) are: Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Representative, Pearnel Charles Jr.; Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams; Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, and East Kingston and Port Royal Member of Parliament, Hon. Phillip Paulwell; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major General Stewart Saunders; and Programme Director for the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s (PIOJ) Community Renewal Programme (CRP), Charles Clayton. The centre was established under the USAID’s Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase 2 (COMET II).

Story Highlights

  • Residents of Rockfort in East Kingston now have a community resource centre (CRC), through which they can access services for their own enrichment and facilitate sustainable community development.
  • The $15 million facility, which was officially opened yesterday (November 5), is equipped with space for an office, community-based policing activities, meetings and social events, and business enterprise activities.
  • It is the first of 25 being established in vulnerable areas across the island under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase 2 (COMET II).

Residents of Rockfort in East Kingston now have a community resource centre (CRC), through which they can access services for their own enrichment and facilitate sustainable community development.

The $15 million facility, which was officially opened yesterday (November 5), is equipped with space for an office, community-based policing activities, meetings and social events, and business enterprise activities.

It is the first of 25 being established in vulnerable areas across the island under the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase 2 (COMET II).

Similar facilities will be established in communities in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, in his address at the opening ceremony, said the CRCs are in keeping with the Government’s focus on community empowerment and improving the economic viability of residents through skills training and job creation. “Our Local Economic Development Support Programme, which is being implemented by the Social Development Commission (SDC), is establishing a positive presence by actively encouraging entrepreneurial values as well as skills,” the Minister said.

He pointed out that since the programme’s launch in May, 138 projects have been initiated with start-up capital of $509 million.

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining and Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, encouraged residents to continue to work with the police to address crime in the area.

“We have a responsibility to prevent crime and violence…Rockfort is now on the way down in terms of crime and violence and on the way up in terms of community upliftment and family life,” he said.

“The police are our friends. It is not a war against them, it is a war against criminal elements,” he added.

He also promised to outfit the Rockfort Centre with Internet capabilities.

Mission Director of USAID, Denise A. Herbol, expressed confidence in the success of the centre in bringing sustainable development to the communities in which they will be located.

Police Commissioner, Dr. Carl Williams, pledged support to Rockfort and praised the police for their role in making the area safer.

For his part, Rockfort Development Council President, Richard Schloss, expressed gratitude to stakeholders and promised to take care of the centre.

The CRCs are expected to function as hubs for community interaction, empowerment and transformation.

They are to be climate resilience structures able to weather torrential rain, prolonged droughts and hurricane force winds. They will also be able to withstand increased temperatures and extended electrical power supply disruptions.

The centres will be equipped with water catchment facilities, solar panels, environmentally safe waste disposal and disaster risk reduction equipment.

JIS Social