|Urban Renewal addresses many social ills, Darville says|
|Thursday, 19 July 2012 13:37|
FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville said the Urban Renewal 2.0 Programme is the right tool to address many of the social ills in the country, including the island of Grand Bahama.
Dr. Darville's comments came as the programme was officially launched in Grand Bahama July 18 by Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie. The launch took place at the Hilton Outten Auditorium.
The Minister for Grand Bahama said Urban Renewal 2.0 is an innovative programme that is designed to support and mentor at risk youth, identify and solve problems affecting communities while taking into consideration the need to create opportunities for all Bahamians.
He said that in the capable hands of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Works and Urban Development, the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis, Urban Renewal 2.0 will fulfil its mandate on Grand Bahama, which is to ensure that all residents of Grand Bahama live in a safe environment where the basic necessities of life are accessible and attainable to all.
He told the gathering, inclusive of executives from the Grand Bahama Port Authority, and other civic and community leaders, that as Minister for Grand Bahama, he is fully aware of the state of the economy and its negative effects on many Grand Bahamians.Also, that despite the large number of young people employed on the Government’s 52 week programme, the unemployment rate on Grand Bahama is now in excess of 22 percent, which is completely unacceptable
“As a result of joblessness, the level of misery and hopelessness has increased over the past few years particularly in the inner city areas. Nevertheless, I am convinced that we will combat the social ills and see meaningful changes take place in Grand Bahama through organised community efforts and joint ventures with both private and public sectors,” he said.
According to Dr. Darville, Urban Renewal 2.0 will foster this marriage between the Ministry for Grand Bahama, Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Urban Development, Royal Bahamas Police Force, the religious community, schools and private citizens, which will provide the manpower, skills and experiences necessary to help tackle the criminal element, build safer communities and bring the promised hope and help for the poor, unemployed, sick and the less fortunate.
The Minister for Grand Bahama said that several weeks ago he toured many of the Urban Renewal facilities on Grand Bahama to get a clear understanding of what was happening at the facilities.
“It was obvious that the majority were in disrepair because the programmes in Grand Bahama lacked funding and attention. Therefore, none of the facilities were able to have the intended, far reaching effects in the communities where they were located.
“Nevertheless, over the past few weeks we have made strides to revitalise Urban Renewal and restore it to the position of being an aggressive tool to combat many of the social ills in our communities and address many of the pressing needs we have found in our communities,” he stated.
Dr. Darville informed that under the supervision of Ms Michelle Reckley, the Deputy Director of Urban Renewal 2.0 on Grand Bahama, they have identified many community leaders who are prepared to partner to reestablish the Progressive Liberal Party’s vision for the Urban Renewal Programme.
He said they have also identified and begun the renovations to the seven centres, which will be located in East, West and Central Grand Bahama, Pineridge and Lucaya.
“These centres will be managed by well trained capable facilitators, managers, police officers, social workers and other staff.
“As we are serious about ensuring that this mandate is carried out, all Urban Renewal practitioners will be equipped with the skills necessary to neutralise potential life threatening situations, cope with unreasonable demands and stressful situations, conflict resolutions and workplace ethics,” he stated.
The Minister for Grand Bahama also pointed out that in addition to ensuring community participation many of the support programmes that were previously carried out in the centres will be outsourced to the churches, schools and private citizens.
“This would make way for the reintroduction of essential pressing programmes that cater to young adults and senior citizens.
“We intend to offer a wide variety of programmes for the youth in the communities, in an effort to detect and prevent crime while neutralising many of the hot spots and counteracting potential challenges. This has proven to be highly effective in tackling the criminal element and building safer communities,” he said.
Dr. Darville added that he is convinced that meaningful changes can come through organised community efforts and joint ventures with both the private and public sectors.
“I am convinced that if we bring all the vital government services back to the community, a lot of the unnecessary challenges that the Ministry of Social Services are currently facing will be relieved.
“Urban Renewal is an important tool to address many of the social ills affecting our society as its mandate is to ensure that all citizens of The Bahamas live in a safe environment where all the basic necessities of life are accessible and attainable to all irrespective of race, class or religious beliefs,” he stated.
Concluding, Dr. Darville said his Ministry stands ready to play its part and invited Grand Bahamians to partner with them as they make the necessary steps to revitalise the Island of Grand Bahama.Photo: Minister for Grand Bahama the Hon. Michael Darville soaks at the launch of the Urban Renewal 2.0 Programme in Freeport, Grand Bahama July 18. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)
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