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Mr Speaker, against the background of the earlier presentation made by senior Minister the Honourable Noel Arscott, allow me to enhance the demonstration of the Ministry’s effort to develop communities by involving everybody, through community empowerment and social interventions, in the business of local governance.

To achieve the desired result; to facilitate the development of settlements and communities that can deliver sustainable first world services, we must continue to be guided by the recommendations of the report from the National Advisory Committee on Local Government Reform. Mr Speaker the proposal for Local Government Reform purports that citizen empowerment and participation is an essential ingredient in this enabling, efficient and responsive local government system that we are seeking to create…

As the Ministry of Local Government & Community Development now moves to revitalize local governance we continue to follow the guidelines left for us by the likes of the late Professor Rex Nettleford while building on those recommendations to further improve our participatory model with new and evolving partnerships with other government entities and NGOs, local and international entities and our local communities.

Mr Speaker, as a product of the local government system I employ the same approach in my constituency and consistently seek the input and participation of the citizens whom I serve. I have had success in getting consensus on priority issues, as well as in lobbying various arms of government towards implementation of programmes to improve the lives of the citizens of my constituency.

Improvement in Infrastructure Development

Mr Speaker, we all know the story of Portmore. It began as a large area for schematic residential development in the 1950s and 60s under the Portmore Land Development Company. After basic physical infrastructure such as roads was established, and due to the increased demand for housing in Kingston, the WIHCON organization built thousands of prototype housing units in an effort to alleviate the over-population of the capital city. The first scheme was called Independence City, followed closely by Edgewater Villas. As the population of Portmore grew, the UDC in 1977 started to plan and provide for infrastructure for the growing community. Community centres, schools, police stations, post offices, a library, and medical facilities were built.

Mr Speaker, the official population of Portmore now stands at over 180,000. However, we have heard, as recently as last week, suggestions by persons in officialdom that that estimate may be off-target by as much as sixty percent (60%). Mr Speaker, I will not join that debate now; what is evident is that there has been astronomical growth in the number of housing solutions in Portmore andthe development of physical infrastructure such as water, sewerage, parks, markets, and other necessary amenities has not kept pace with the growth in population…READ MORE

Download Contribution to the 2013/2014 Sectoral Debate by State Minister, the Hon. Colin Fagan