JIS News

It was standing room only at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Savanna-la-mar yesterday (March 1), as representatives of political, social and business groups and ordinary residents turned out in numbers for the Westmoreland leg of the Parish Visioning Symposia.
The Westmoreland symposium was the eight in a series of sessions being staged in parishes across the island by the Department of Local Government in collaboration with the local authorities, aimed at engaging community members in the process of developing a 20-year sustainable development plan for each community and parish. The sessions are being held under the theme: ‘My Community, Our Parish, One Jamaica – My Vision’.
There was general agreement on the part of the presenters at the Westmoreland session that the broad-based consultation is the best way for the country to move forward, with all expressing their approval for the event, and encouraging the residents to give of their full participation.
The participants were told that their contributions in the break-out workshops, to take place in the afternoon, will ensure that they have played an all important role in the development of a sustainable plan for the development of their community, which is in keeping with the national vision.
Persons making presentations in the morning session included Custos of Westmoreland, Owen D Sinclair; Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Marlene Malahoo Forte; the three Members of Parliament for the parish, Dr. Wykeham McNeil, Roger Clarke, and Luther Buchanan;; and Chairman of the Parish Development Committee, Rev. C Wilson.
Minister of State with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, in his address, encouraged all the participants to put their differences aside and make their contributions in the interest of the parish in general and their communities in particular.
“Let us turn a new chapter in Jamaica, let us write it together, because today, the decisions we make will affect our children and their children,” he stated.
He emphasised that the aim is to establish interconnectivity between the community and parish plans and national development imperatives.
Following Mr. Montague’s presentation the participants broke out into workshop groups for in-depth discussions on topics such as; Infrastructure and the Environment, Economic Development, Social Services and Governance. Some 24 government entities were represented at the event.
The series of symposia moves to the parish of St. Elizabeth today (March 2), then on to Clarendon on March 3, and St. Catherine on March 8.

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