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The government will be adopting an integrated approach to dealing with community transformation in order to address some of the social challenges facing the society.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding has established a special unit within the Office of the Prime Minister to develop a framework of activism for dealing with issues relating to self respect, parenting and skills training. He said the programme will also place emphasis on restoring values and strengthening the family unit.
Mr. Golding outlined the programme objectives during a meeting with representatives of People’s Action for Community Transformation (PACT). PACT is an umbrella group comprised of 26 non-governmental organizations.
He said the work of the committee would have to be linked with state agencies and utility companies that would be required to ensure that broken sewerage facilities and water mains are repaired and maintained and that regular garbage collection services are provided, among other things. He said residents would feel better about themselves and their surroundings if they live in a clean environment, which would in turn provide the basis for dealing with other more serious problems.
The Prime Minister also asserted that emphasis must be placed on restoring the family and family values in order for transformation to happen. He said the behaviour of students and other social problems are rooted in the values inculcated within the family, many of which are in a bad shape and in need of assistance. He said attention would have to be given to leadership and skills training and motivating people in areas where intervention has taken place in order for them to become self-sustaining.
Mr. Golding’s comments were supported by those of Minister of Information, Culture, Youth and Sport Olivia Grange, who spoke of the need for coordination between government, NGOs and the social service sector to allow for the effective and efficient use of available resources. She said one area in which collaboration could take place is with the certification of skilled persons through the HEART Trust/NTA. She said NGOs could identify persons in communities where they are engaged who could then be certified by HEART.
PACT has worked in many inner city communities mainly in the Kingston metropolitan area. Its member organizations are generally involved in community upliftment through education and poverty eradication skills training programmes. Mr. Golding has asked the organization to make an input into the overall strategy for community transformation during a series of stakeholders meetings that is being planned.