JIS News

The Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Development Committee (KSA PDC) organized a forum on Wednesday (Feb. 18) to enable various stakeholders to share their experiences of the KSA Sustainable Development Plan project, which was established to provide a framework to promote orderly development, economic growth and environmental management over the next 20 years.
In his remarks at the forum, which was held at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, Chairman of the KSA PDC Michael Ammar, explained that the PDC was set up to provide a multi stakeholder forum through which the membership streams representing Kingston and St. Andrew could participate in development and governance of the parishes.
He informed that the six streams that had been set up to date were community organizations; service delivery and statutory agencies; the KSAC; civil society organizations; the private sector and the ex officio and political representatives.
To date, he said, activities were at varying stages in each stream. The Kingston and St. Andrew region has been divided into 13 economic zones and out of these, 13 development area clusters have been identified. With the assistance of the SDC, he added, these clusters had been mobilized into Community Development Committees (CDCs) and Development Area Committees (DAC).
Mr. Ammar noted that DACs were evidence of what could be done for the average citizen to get involved in influencing the sustainable development process in Kingston and St. Andrew. A number of key government agencies have signed a memorandum of understanding with the KSAC and the KSA PDC for the KSA sustainable Development Plan Project.
These include: the Urban Development Corporation; the Ministry of Local Government; the Ministry of Land and Environment; and the National Housing Trust; the National Environment and Planning Agency; the CIDA/GOJ Environmental Action Programme (ENACT); Jamaica National Heritage Trust; the Social Development Commission and the Town and Country Planning Authority.
“The other agencies of central government that are supposed to be involved have taken a more cautious approach to the planning process and what we need to do today is to encourage them to start to interact with this project,” Mr. Ammar said.
As the parish authority, the KSAC has ratified the PDC as a special advisory committee to the Council and in so doing, has endorsed a participatory approach to achieve a sustainable development plan. Mr. Ammar noted that the KSAC had also committed staff and office space to assist in the planning process and many councillors were involved at the various sub committee levels of the KSA PDC.
“We want to acknowledge the fact that the KSAC has put its money where its mouth is. Many PDCs have not succeeded to get this far because the local authority has not stepped up to the plate the way the KSAC has. This started under the past administration and has continued with the present administration and we feel that there is true bipartisan buy in to this effort,” he stated.
He added that the vision of the PDC was that it would be strengthened as a multi stakeholder participatory mechanism and while some amount of partnership building had occurred, more was to be done.
The focus of the PDC over the past 12 months has been the KSA Sustainable Development Plan Project which has received external funding from the World Bank through the Cities Alliance Programme and CIDA through the ENACT programme.
Mr. Ammar expressed pleasure at the fact that Kingston had competed with cities from all over the world and won the grant of US$25 million, “outdoing much bigger cities and much grander projects than we could have ever imagined to put together.”
“In the last 15 months, I have seen more progress in terms of the inter agency co-operation and the private sector has been able to access these agencies and actually get results. Through this partnership, we can come up with a Sustainable Development Plan for Kingston that we will all own,” Mr. Ammar said.
The sustainable development process involves taking decisions that meet present and future needs. It seeks social and economic development that can be sustained into the foreseeable future. Sustainable development planning at the parish level involves authorities, service agencies as well as persons who live and work in the various areas. The parish plans are expected to feed into the national level, contributing to an overall national development agenda in areas of economic development, land use planning, environmental management and local governance.
Funds were granted for the KSA Sustainable Development Plan Project in January 2002 and the partnership agreement amongst the various stakeholders was signed on November 26, 2002. Activities surrounding the planning process began on Feb. 6, last year.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Councillor Desmond McKenzie, said the forum came at a very important time for the city when the KSAC was soliciting the support of all the major stakeholders as it sought to make Kingston the preferred choice for World Cup Cricket 2007.
“Let us work as one. There is a lot to be done and once we are committed to the task, we will be able to achieve the ultimate success,” Councillor McKenzie implored, adding, “as a capital city, for years we have failed to live up to our expectations and we have had a golden opportunity through the Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Development Committee to make that change”.

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