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Story Highlights

  • If the CRP is successful, the country could see a three per cent growth in GDP.
  • The CRP is an intervention project targeting 100 of the most vulnerable and volatile communities in Jamaica
  • Its aim is to provide a platform for the co-ordination and improvement of service delivery to the communities

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, says that if the Community Renewal Programme (CRP) is successful, the country could see a three per cent growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Mr. Arscott was addressing the Community Stakeholder Consultation Forum towards the implementation of Phase 1 of the Community Renewal Programme, at the Jamaica Conference Centre in Kingston, on August 14.

The Minister called for the co-operation of all stakeholders to ensure the programme’s success, pointing out that political boundaries were ignored in the design of the CRP.

The CRP is an intervention project targeting 100 of the most vulnerable and volatile communities in Jamaica, distributed across the five most crime affected parishes of Kingston, St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Clarendon and St. James.

Its aim is to provide a platform for the co-ordination and improvement of service delivery to the communities, in a bid to enhance social transformation, strengthen governance, and reduce crime and violence.

Eighteen communities have been targeted in phase one and a pilot was introduced in Majesty Gardens, Kingston, which is ranked fourth on the list of volatile communities across the island.

“When you look at where Kingston is – its location, its facilities, the assets and the people – then you realize that this programme has to succeed,” Mr. Arscott said.

He pointed out that major projects, such as the logistics centre and the port expansion, which are being pursued by the Government, cannot be successful unless there is safety, peace and prosperity in the nearby communities.

The Minister assured the forum of the government’s full commitment to the CRP and gave his personal commitment to ensure its success.

He also informed that there is the Kingston Lifestyle Centre and an associated task force, headed by former Central Kingston Member of Parliament, Victor Cummings, which is working closely with the CRP team, so that when the programme is finally completed, there will be a noticeable transformation of Kingston.

Meanwhile, President of the Majesty Gardens Community Development Committee (CDC), Wayne Bernard, described the project as “a ray of hope for our community.” He noted that the CRP fits into the community’s development plan to elevate the lives of its citizens.

“I can say to everybody that activating the social development and human resources in any community is really better for the economy,” Mr. Bernard testified.

He explained that the CRP aligned the work of the various agencies and donors within the community and that the community is in the process of developing a three-year sustainability plan, which has child development as the main focus.

This plan, he said, is centred around sports, education and culture.  He further informed that the vision of Majesty Gardens is outlined in a community priority plan which is with the Social Development Commission (SDC).

The community stakeholders’ consultation forum was organized by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in collaboration with the SDC, which will be the implementing agency. Its aim was to bring awareness to the work of the CRP and its processes; identify and validate the main developmental challenges to be addressed in Phase 1 of the programme; and facilitate a direct interface between community representatives and or/implementing agencies.