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Institutional strengthening for SDC

MONTEGO BAY, S. James: An organizational restructuring exercise has been proposed for the Social Development Commission (SDC) in a bid to improve its effectiveness and relevance.

Honourable Desmond McKenzie says the SDC, which falls under the ambits of his Portfolio Ministry- Local Government and Community Development – stressed that the agency must be able to respond to new social challenges in communities and formulate strategies to successfully address them.

“There has to be a new way for the SDC. We will be looking at the structure of the organization to see where the weakness exists and how we can strengthen what we have,” he said during a meeting with SDC executives and parish managers on February 2 at the Montego Bay Convention Centre.

“It is clear that within the organization we have the capability and capacity to make things work… After the Local Government Election, I am going to arrange for training to be able to respond to some of the things to help us.”

The SDC is the principal community organization agency working with Jamaica’s 775 communities. Its legal mandate is to inter alia, “promote and control schemes for, and to do any act or thing which may directly or indirectly serve the advancement of sport, social, cultural & economic development – for the people of Jamaica and workers in particular”.

According to Minister McKenzie, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has echoed the intention of the government to take a different approach to stem incidents of domestic violence across the country.

“The Prime Minister indicates that the Government will create an entity that will be the hinge-pin for violent resolution. The organization needs to focus on lifestyle in the community. These are not areas outside of the reach of the SDC,” the Minister explained.

“The SDC must now move from the antiquated era and step into the modern era. The programmes need to reflect reality. There is a need for social intervention, and this is where the SDC comes in.”

Minister McKenzie also shared that the SDC will play a vital role in the recently-announced SPARK Programme.

The SPARK (Shared Prosperity through Accelerated Improvement to our Road Network) Programme is a $20 billion road-improvement project to modernise more than 2,000 roads islandwide.

“The programme is not for the elective representative to determine how the roads will be selected. The role of the SDC is to be the body that coordinates the consultation in various parishes,” added the Minister.