Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has lauded the St. John’s Heights Citizens’ Association Benevolent Society on its move to clean the community and safeguard the health of residents, through the launch of a landscaping business.
  • The Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for West Central St, Catherine, said he was pleased that St. John’s Heights is “an activist community,” which is taking control of its own safety and health.
  • President of the Benevolent Society, Omar Green, informed that the venture is part of the community’s Youth Empowerment Programme, which provides employment for residents.

Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has lauded the St. John’s Heights Citizens’ Association Benevolent Society on its move to clean the community and safeguard the health of residents, through the launch of a landscaping business.

“This is a demonstration of what community spirit should be all about and you are worth emulating,” he said at the launching ceremony held in the St. Catherine community on Sunday (April 10).

Dubbed: ‘St. John’s Heights (SJH) Landscapers’, its operations will, among other things, involve clearing overgrown lots to not only beautify the community, but destroy mosquito breeding sites.

The Minister, who is also Member of Parliament for West Central St, Catherine, said he was pleased that St. John’s Heights is “an activist community,” which is taking control of its own safety and health.

“You’re a community that clearly has said in no uncertain terms, that the future of your community lies with you and it is an extremely critical theme to advance and articulate,” he said.

President of the Benevolent Society, Omar Green, informed that the venture is part of the community’s Youth Empowerment Programme, which provides employment for residents.

 “Our aim is to eventually expand our services to the wider (St. Catherine)…we want to get to the place, where the youths from our business can be contracted to clear roadways and overgrown areas in other communities,” he said.

The Youth Empowerment programme is being undertaken with technical and financial support from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Community Empowerment and Transformation Project Phase 2 (COMET II).

Chief of Party, USAID COMET II, Ian McKnight, said the establishment of the landscaping business is a demonstration of “what community development is about. It’s about citizens taking control of their community to ensure that it is safe and it is secure.”

“This investment is one which is expected to bring about a positive impact, not only on the participants, but also on the community and, by extension, the society,” he said.

A grant of $1.1 million was provided under the COMET II project to purchase equipment including weed whackers, a hedge trimmer, chainsaw, wheelbarrow and stepladder for the landscaping business.

In the meantime, private letter boxes for residents were also commissioned into service during the ceremony. The mailboxes, installed in partnership with Jamaica Post, are expected to provide a safe, reliable and convenient way to utilise the traditional mail service.

The COMET II project is working in 25 targeted communities in Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.

COMET II seeks to build safer communities by strengthening community and civil society organisations, citizen co-operation and accountability, juvenile justice and at-risk youth programmes; and improving community policing practices.

One of the core objectives of the project is to promote community-driven activities to contribute to crime prevention, by addressing the underlying causes of crime and improving communications and interactions between the citizenry and police.