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JIS News

The St. Catherine Parish Development Committee (PDC) is preparing the parish to tap into the economic opportunities that will emerge from the country’s staging of the ICC Cricket World Cup next March.
Newly elected chairman of the committee, Earl Hyde, told JIS News that the event would create “an opportunity for us to showcase St. Catherine, to see just how best we can develop a product that we can sell to the thousands of visitors that are coming.”
To this end, “we have put a Cricket 2007 Committee in place and they will be looking at the possibilities and [will] put a programme together,” Mr. Hyde informed, noting that the programme would be submitted to the Parish Council.
The establishment of PDCs in all parishes is a provision of the Local Government Reform Programme. The purpose is to facilitate increased community involvement and the participation of all sectors of society in the decision-making process, with regard to governance and community development.
Mr. Hyde explained that St. Catherine was divided into four development areas – Linstead, Old Harbour, Spanish Town and the municipality of Portmore -and a Development Area Committee (DAC) has been formed to lead development planning for each area. The communities in each area are lumped geographically, and Community Development Committees (CDCs) coordinate their development activities.
“All the functions of these committees are to empower the people to have a say in their development,” Mr. Hyde noted. Outlining the process, he said that the CDCs “formulate local development plans for the communities and these plans are sent upwards to the DAC.”
“The DAC takes all the community plans within the development area and formulates a general plan for the development area and this will be sent to the PDC.”
The PDC combines the plans to formulate a development strategy for the parish, which is then submitted to the Parish Council.
Mr. Hyde, who succeeds Dr. Trevor Dewdney as chairman of the St. Catherine PDC, told JIS News, that during the approximately three years since the committee has been active, it has “implemented a number of community outreach programmes in various communities, and these programmes have brought government agencies.into the community for a day.”
The outreach programmes, which are normally held on a monthly basis, allow citizens to access services from agencies such as the Registrar General’s Department, the health and fire departments, police community relations, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, among others.
Having been a part of the PDC for the last two years, Mr. Hyde said that as chairman, his vision was “to see the committee become proactive.to help to mobilize the people to become a part of the process of development.”
Noting that there “are a number of things that can be done in a community by the community itself that will lend itself to the total development of the parish and the country”, Mr. Hyde indicated that the PDC was “trying to sensitise the people. We are looking at establishing training centres for skills training and we’re looking at getting access to funding for community development.”
The chairman will be supported in these endeavours by the other members of the executive, which comprises 1st vice chairman, Hubert Bartholomew; 2nd vice chairman, Loraine Judith Spencer Jarrett; 3rd vice chairman, Robert Allen; secretary, Marcia O’Connor Morgan; treasurer, Rudolph Green, public relations officer, George Moodie and assistant, Stainton Miller.