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Minister of Water and Housing, Dr. Horace Chang, has commended the National Housing Trust’s (NHT) Best Scheme Competition, for promoting community spirit.
“There was a sense of community which this competition is seeking to reawaken. There is an aspect of Jamaican life which we have to preserve and protect, because they were valuable in building the Jamaican character. This is what the Best Scheme Competition is seeking to reawaken,” Minister Chang said.
The Minister was speaking at the Trust’s 2007/08 Best Scheme Competition Awards Ceremony, at the Hilton Hotel, New Kingston, recently.
Minister Chang commended the NHT for the sense of community that the competition encourages. This includes the concept of the old Jamaican village life: when neighbours looked after each other and the village helped to grow each child.
Longville Park in Clarendon, won first place and a prize of $1 million. Angels Grove, St. Catherine, was second, while Glenco, St. Elizabeth, and Blackwood Gardens, St. Catherine, tied for third. The second and third placed schemes received $700,000 and $500,000, respectively.
In addition, Longville Park also received $200,000 as a regional prize winner in Region 1, which comprises Clarendon, Manchester, St. James, Trelawny, Westmoreland and Hanover.
Special awards were given to Victoria Courts for Healthy Lifestyle, Angels Grove for Cultural Awareness, and to Longville Park for Sound Environmental Practices and Educational Development.
The Best Scheme Competition was introduced in 1993, as an incentive for residents in NHT schemes to improve the quality of life in their communities. The competition also created a way in which the Trust could recognise, encourage and reward communities which had high levels of mortgage repayment, while, at the same time, maintain their common and other physical spaces.
This year the Trust ramped up the competition a notch higher.
“We’ve taken the initiative a little further in the 2007/2008 competition. This time around, we decided to extend the development theme to include the sub-themes of culture, health education and environmental awareness. What we wanted to do was to motivate the communities to use their initiative and creativity toward achieving their developmental goal,” Managing Director of the NHT, Earl Samuels, said.
He noted that the competition has, over the years, helped to breathe new life into community spirit in NHT schemes.
The initiatives developed by the communities which participated in the 2007/2008 competition included the establishment of home work centres, culinary projects, culture clubs, clothes-making ventures, carving, and painting.