Minister of Communities Ronald Bulkan told a group of engineers and other technical specialists that his ministry hopes to harness their skills and expertise and group them into a single unit whose objective is to build cohesive sustainable communities nationwide.
Bulkan made these disclosures in his address to engineers, technical specialists and project coordinators from the departments of housing, water, local government and regional development at a workshop held on Friday at the Arthur Chung Convention Centre, Liliendaal.
The objective of the workshop was to inform the engineers of the projects being undertaken by each new department within the ministry with the aim of gathering them under one unit to achieve the goals set by the new administration. The unit will also be tasked with conceptualising projects and finding solutions to problems, Bulkan said, explaining that it is for this particular reason that the housing and water and local government and regional ministries were merged under one ministry.
“Formerly the concept of water and housing were limited to the delivery of pure water and house lot or just a house…the thinking of the new Ministry is to create cohesive and sustainable communities focused on human needs and human condition,” he said, according to a release from the Ministry of Communities. Further, the statement said, “Sustainable communities will facilitate citizen satisfaction…derived from the provision of durable roads, proper solid waste management, adequate lighting, security, fire hydrants, playgrounds, recreational facility, schools and health centres.”
“The vision is to move beyond basic provisions and direct attention towards all the needs for wholesome and dignified living,” Bulkan said.
Meanwhile, Minister within the Ministry of Communities Keith Scott, who has responsibility for housing, said, “We can no longer afford to work as individual sectors…we must unite and harmonize the sectors to ensure that a collective approach is achieved.”
He also noted that this approach will reduce the total cost of infrastructure, meet the needs of the poor and foster development of new and existing communities and municipalities. Scott further said the workshop is the first step in co-ordinating the functions of each sector and reiterated that the main focus is to deliver infrastructure and efficient service to the people.
In her address, Minister within the Ministry of Communities, Dawn Hastings-Williams, under whose purview hinterland communities fall, said infrastructural development in the hinterland regions has lagged behind too long and it is vital to advance same to reduce poverty and enhance livelihoods.
According to the release, Permanent Secretary Emil McGarrell and Technical Adviser to the Ministry of Communities on Projects Charles Ceres also attended the workshop.