“It’s Our Community, Let’s Make It a Better Place” was the theme of the year-end community meeting and workshop. This meeting was a resounding success as 170 persons turned out and spoke up, sharing ideas and thoughts on moving the community forward.
Community members made up the bulk of those in attendance, however, the meeting saw representation from the Portmore Municipal Council; Housing Agency of Jamaica, Factories Corporation of Jamaica, HEART Trust NTA, NHT, Rapid True Value, and LAMP.
Much of the talk surrounded the presentation of the results of Jam Habitats community enumeration exercise. Residents and stakeholders in attendance were delighted to see the context-specific data on community demographics, sanitation, housing and land tenure among other things and debate on how these statistics would shape redevelopment plans for the 2030 vision of the community.
Meeting attendants were split into focus groups to drill down on key areas such as physical and social well-being.
The Factories Corporation of Jamaica (FCJ) made their first presentation to the community about their plans for developing the adjacent land into the Naggo Head Commercial and Industrial Space.
The Chairman of FCJ, Littleton Shirley urged the persons in attendance to “get ready” as in the following months, plans would begin to come alive and persons skilled in building and construction would be needed from the community. Additionally, he urged the youth within the community to prepare themselves by seeking skills training to enhance their qualifications to help fill the 20,000+ job vacancies that will be required for the Commercial and Industrial Space to function.
Kenardo Miller, a 17-year-old resident of Naggo Head who volunteers with the project beamed with excitement as he commended the team for a well put together, informative and educational meeting, one in which he was able to interface with the HEART Trust NTA in a promising discussion that led to an interview for an internship. He echoed the sentiment of many persons in attendance, stating that the meeting has given the residents of Naggo Head hope for the future.
Participation is key in actively, meaningfully, and sustainable building the resilience of any community and the importance of focus groups, workshops and forums such as this that link community members with government and private sector stakeholders cannot be overstated.
This meeting was a fitting culmination to a challenging, yet productive and fruitful year and we look forward to many more dialogues in 2018.
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is a success.” –Henry Ford