The Government will be taking steps to complete outstanding projects under the Programme for Resettlement and Integrated Development Enterprise (Operation PRIDE), this fiscal year.
This was disclosed by Minister with responsibility for Housing, Hon. Dr. Morais Guy, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on July 10.
"I assure you that we will be taking every step possible to reactivate all Operation PRIDE projects that are deemed most feasible," the Minister said.
The Operation PRIDE initiative was launched in 1994 by then Prime Minister, the Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, to address several issues, including informal settlements.
Some of the objectives of the programme include: the resolution of the shelter needs of a majority of low income Jamaicans through the establishment of new planned settlements and the upgrading of existing settlements; the improvement of environmental and public health conditions in settlements throughout the country; and the mobilisation of resources in the informal sector towards their own improvement, employment creation and national development.
Despite the achievements obtained under Operation PRIDE, however, the programme had to be suspended due to a number of implementation challenges. A principal challenge was the limited beneficiary deposit that was available, given the socio-economic standing of the beneficiaries to move the partnership forward.
Dr. Guy said the Government maintains its belief in “this excellent concept,” which resulted in many communities of Jamaicans from differing socio-economic backgrounds benefiting from Greenfield and brownfield sites solutions.
The Minister said he has been having discussions with numerous stakeholders who have invested their hard earned savings in the programme, but have not yielded a benefit. “I wish to assure them that, where feasible, every effort will be made to address their concerns,” he said.
Dr. Guy said that the Government still supports the community-based incremental development approach, which is the cornerstone of the entire programme. Likewise, the administration will continue to embrace the utilisation of starter standards and guidelines in the implementation of the projects, so as to address the peculiarities of the beneficiary communities, he said.
He emphasised that it is imperative that sustainability of Operation PRIDE be examined within the context of the limited financial resources available for development projects and in light of the limited fiscal space within which the Government has to operate.
Dr. Guy said the restoration of the programme will also be examined within the context of the increasing environmental and technical standards to be met.
Emphasis will also be placed on the governance structures within the communities and the ways in which they can be utilised to harness the human and financial capital at the community level, to move the programme forward in a sustainable way, the Minister pointed out.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter