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Executive Director of the Social Development Commission (SDC), Dr. Dwayne Vernon, says the agency is seeking to position itself to further assist in bolstering self-help activities in communities islandwide.

Speaking at the second SDC Parish/Town Hall meeting, in May Pen, Clarendon, last week,  Dr. Vernon pointed out that the Commission’s  “core outputs” are focused on fostering strong community governance mechanisms, reliable disaggregated data, and plans and programmes that identify needs, the required partnership for success, and the most suitable environment for quality service delivery.

"We must support community development at the grassroots…the small man, small businesses, the community based organisations, community development committees, development area committees and parish development committees,” the Executive Director argued.

Dr. Vernon said the SDC is cognizant of the “realities” of the many challenges and experiences which a number of residents face in their communities, based on the daily interaction of the agency’s officers with these persons.

“Most of the experiences are heart-warming because we see the resolve, the creativity, and the passion of our people. Our vision is to be the leading community development agency in a Jamaican society where all citizens actively participate in a process and benefit from the resulting good governance, economic prosperity (and) social well-being. Therefore, we are confident that, with our communities at the centre, the SDC will be so supported that we will attain favourable outcomes for our people,” Dr. Vernon said.

The May Pen Parish/Town Hall meeting was one in a series of islandwide fora, being jointly staged by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, and its agency, the SDC, under the theme: ‘Government and Governance’.

These fora are aimed at providing Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, and other members of the Cabinet and Government, with the opportunity to engage the public, in discussions, on a range of topical issues.

Thefora are also designed to facilitate relevant government agencies with opportunities to provide updates on programmes and initiatives, specific to the local and parish levels.