Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Gladstone Hutchinson, has announced the establishment of a Community Renewal Programme Secretariat within the PIOJ.
The Secretariat will be headed by university lecturer, Dr. Terry-Ann Gilbert-Roberts, and includes clergyman, Pastor Carrington Morgan. Additional members are expected to be appointed soon.
Speaking at the PIOJ’s quarterly briefing at the organisation’s New Kingston offices on Wednesday (February 23), Dr. Hutchinson said the Secretariat will pilot the community renewal programme framework, which aims to guide the design and implementation of violence reduction and community development projects in 100 of the most vulnerable and volatile areas across the island.
Implementation of the programme, he informed, arose from the results of a study undertaken by the PIOJ’s Growth Secretariat, established to bring focus to the recovery, growth, modernisation and global competitiveness of the economy, which cited the negative impact of crime and social marginalisation on production and the economy, as the main constraints to national growth.
The PIOJ head said that the community renewal programme will seek to promote interventions aimed at building capacity for self empowerment at the individual and community levels in the targeted areas, which he said, account for up to 83 per cent of murders, 73 per cent of major crimes, and 43 per cent of squatter communities.
He pointed out that the programme will not replace existing initiatives being implemented, but will, instead, “act as a vehicle to promote the harmonised and holistic approach to the implementation of interventions, to avoid the inefficient use of human and financial resources.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Hutchinson disclosed that a preliminary draft of the Growth Secretariat’s report was submitted to Cabinet, which approved its usage as the framework for rationalising and prioritising the recovery and growth of the economy, beginning with the upcoming 2011/12 budget.
Additionally, he said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated its readiness to engage in dialogue on how best to anchor the Government’s growth strategy within the macroeconomic framework of the Standby Agreement with Jamaica.
Dr. Hutchinson said that as part of the terms for the growth inducement strategy, a symposium will be held at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston, on March 15, to share the findings of the report with the general public and also gain feedback.
He informed that a draft of the document will be posted on the PIOJ’s website as of March 4, 2011.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH