Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has commended the staff of its portfolio agencies for their role in the national coronavirus (COVID-19) response.
The Ministry has direct responsibility for infrastructure development, fire safety and protection, waste management and enforcement, community development and empowerment, social protection, disaster management and mitigation, and local governance.
These operations are carried out by the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA), Social Development Commission (SDC), Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Board of Supervision and the municipal corporations.
“What we have been able to achieve so far is the collective response of a dedicated set of public servants,” he said.
Minister McKenzie, who was speaking at a recent digital town hall, noted that 80 per cent of the work that has been done as it relates to surveys, preparing some of the protocols and obtaining information on COVID-19, has been undertaken by the SDC team.
“I want to place on record the gratitude of the Government to a team of excellent community workers, who continue to make the Ministry proud,” he said.
The Minister noted that the NSWMA continues to be a beacon of hope and hailed the men and women of the JFB “for the commitment that you continue to make to saving lives and property.”
He said that the ODPEM, through its work, continues to maintain credibility in the eyes of the Jamaican people, while the Board of Supervision plays a key role in providing care and protection for the most vulnerable in the society.
Minister McKenzie assured the agencies of the Government’s commitment to providing the necessary resources to enable them to operate effectively.
For her part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Marsha Henry-Martin, informed that the Ministry directly employs approximately 10,000 persons to include 229 elected representatives.
The municipal corporations and the Portmore municipality account for over 3,000 individuals; the NSWMA, 3,200; the SDC, 335; the JFB to include uniformed and non-uniformed officers, 2,331; the ODPEM 75; the Board of Supervision and the golden age homes, 198; and 156 at the Ministry level.
The Ministry has engaged over 10,000 young people through its Youth Summer Employment Programme over the last three years in the areas of disaster management, data collection, infrastructure development and community development.