JIS News

Nine persons working with the St. Thomas Association of Community Development Committees (STACDC) and Development Area Committees (DAC) were awarded certificates and plaques on Saturday (May 1) for their service, loyalty and dedication to the organisations and their communities.
The workers received their awards at a Gala Awards Banquet organised by the STACDC and held at the Morant Villa Hotel in Morant Bay, St Thomas.
Annie Smith of the Yallahs DAC and Flo Pottinger of the Morant Bay DAC received plaques for their outstanding contribution to their communities, while Elaine Dixon, secretary of the STACDC received the Member of the Year Award. Citations were also read to the three awardees.
Other recipients of certificates were Pastor Edwin McPherson, Victor Donaldson, Beville Johnson, Dorette Abrahams, Wayne Thompson and Yvonne Chin.
The STACDC was launched in 2002 and is the umbrella organisation of 52 Community Development Committees (CDCs), which is part of the local Government Reform programme.
Minister of Local Government, Community Development and Sports, Portia Simpson Miller, who addressed the banquet, congratulated the awardees for serving their parish with distinction.
“For those who serve at the community level, if we have more of you then we would have a stronger Jamaica,” she said. The Minister also thanked the Mayor of St Thomas, Joan Spencer; Member of Parliament for Western St Thomas, James Robertson and Member of Parliament for Eastern St Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson for donating the awards.
She implored the residents of St Thomas to continue to work together in achieving their goals. “Build on what you have accomplished and do not allow anything or anyone to divide you,” she emphasised.
Minister Simpson Miller told community members to ensure that the channels of communication in the parish were opened, to allow persons the opportunity to voice their disagreements and take part in the decision-making process.
“The opinions of the wider cross section of the community must be relentlessly sought. No section of the community must be able to claim legitimately, that it has been left out of the decision-making process,” she said.
Chairman of the STACDC, Emerson James said that CDC members had attended several leadership training seminars organised by the Social Development Commission. He noted that this had helped in the start-up and successful completion of various community projects. According to Mr James, CDCs were instrumental in receiving funding to improve the water supply, construct farm roads and install streetlights in a number of areas in the parish.
Additionally, he said, a number of basic schools and classrooms were built and skills training programmes organised by the CDC.
Mr. James said there was the need for river training work to be carried out in the Seaforth community, adding that residents were “extremely worried” that a number of areas affected by the last flood rains have not been repaired. He also mentioned the need for a bridge across the Yallahs Fording.
“This is our number one concern. We have invited investors to the parish at different levels and they have always mentioned our roadways, which include the bridge,” he added.
State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Dr. Fenton Ferguson, who is also Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, told the gathering that he had a “strong vested interest” in ensuring that a bridge was built at the Yallahs Fording. He said that a report on the construction of a new bridge across the fording had been submitted to Cabinet for consideration.

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