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Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says Parish Development Committees (PDCs) have played an integral role in broadening the decision-making process and mechanisms of inclusiveness at the local and community levels.

“Despite the meagre resources, the PDCs have been bolstered through various initiatives and partnerships,” Mr. Arscott said, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, on June 26.

The Minister further noted that PDCs have benefitted from technical assistance through short and medium term agreements with several international partners, such as the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Union (EU) and the Canadian Urban Institute (CUI).

“Of note, the Canadian Urban Institute has been doing tremendous work with both the Manchester and St. Elizabeth PDCs in the area of sustainable development planning, environmental protection, historical tourism and organisational development and capacity building exercises. It is expected that the CUI will be expanding this initiative in the next phase to other parishes,” Mr. Arscott said.

In the meantime, Mr. Arscott argued that as the Ministry pushes forward with the revitalisation of the local governance process, it will be leading the review of the status and reach of the PDC system shortly, to ensure that those that are organisationally challenged are brought in line with stronger PDCs, such as Clarendon and Manchester.

“Our new local governance paradigm requires broader, more meaningful and sustainable partnerships, therefore our PDCs are critical to the efficiency, expansion and effectiveness of this thrust. As Minister, I pledge to do all I can to support the continued momentum of the PDCs and enable greater synergies with PDCs, the Social Development Commission (SDC)  and the local authorities, which will result inthe empowerment of citizens in communities, and enabling their participation in an integrated, equitable, sustainable National Development Process,” Mr. Arscott said.

The role of the PDCs as the primary representatives of civil society at the local level, will be reflected in the proposed Local Governance Act.

 

By Latonya Linton, JIS PRO