Bahamas, June 21, 2017 – Nassau – The Minister of Social Services and Urban Development the Hon. Lanisha Rolle provided an overview of the agencies that fall under her purview in her contribution to the ongoing Budget Debate in the House of Assembly, Thursday, June 15, 2017.
Minister Rolle outlined the ministries and services including the Ministry of Social Services proper, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Rehabilitative Services, the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, and the Department of Urban Development.
Parliamentarians were also given a summary of the nine divisions managed by the department of Social Services and committed to enhancing delivery of service to reflect respect, courtesy and high performance. The divisions are: Childcare Facilities, Children and Family Services, Community Support Services, Disability Affairs Division, Family Island Division, Health and Social Services Division, School Welfare Division, Senior Citizen’s Division, Community Affairs Division and Department of Rehabilitative Services.
The Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development is currently restructuring the operations of Urban Renewal to direct attention to the development of inner-city spaces and the environment under the new “Inner-city Revitalization Project” said Minister Rolle.
According to Minister Rolle this is in keeping with the Government’s mandate to strengthen the Ministry’s relationship with governmental and non-governmental agencies, to achieve the goals under Urban Renewal and to advance its projects.
“We intend to operate a program that is budget friendly, quality based and people oriented. There will be within this period a transformation of identified inner-city areas, an intensive mass clean-up campaign, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities, as well as the enhancement of special projects such as the Urban Games, Urban Band and Competition and Basketball Tournaments among a few others,” said Hon. Rolle.
Consideration is being given to the implementation of the Urban Cadet Corps, a club designed to impart discipline and community consciousness in which youth are prepared to be guardians of the nation’s future.
Minister Rolle remarked that the elderly comprise other targeted groups for the Ministry.
“It is these individuals who built this country and laid the foundation for our families: it is those grandfathers who engaged contracts on projects abroad in order to send monies back home to take care of families during the troubling economic periods of our development,” said Minister Rolle.
“We owe our seniors a debt of gratitude, and Social Services and Urban Development will do its part to pay its portion on behalf of the many Bahamians who can now enjoy the suburbs because of the price and sacrifice of those who paved the way for us and endured the toil and struggles inherent in the urban life.”
Moreover, Minister Rolle announced that the Department is reviewing the possibility of carrying out remedial work to assist seniors and the disabled who have suffered roof damage as a result of the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
“I think it is incumbent upon this Minister to make it abundantly clear that I did not say we are considering repairing homes, or replacing washrooms, or building additional rooms onto the house, or giving young people who can work, priority in this exercise.
“We have a small budget unless or until we receive generous donations; and therefore we are considering patch work to ensure that vulnerable individuals among us are properly protected from the rain especially as we are now in the hurricane season.”
She announced plans to secure a facility to house an Urban Library and Research Center to ensure that children of all ages have access to books and information necessary to competently sit national examinations.
Consideration is being given to hosting Old Folk Tale Story-telling Time at the centers to assist with cognitive development of the aged and to teach history and social studies to young people.
Furthermore, Minister Rolle informed Parliamentarians that if adequate funding is secured, it is the Ministry’s intention to conduct remedial home repairs within this budgetary period; however, she emphasized that the Commission cannot commit to building homes or paying for the clearing of land that individuals clear down and request Urban to pay for.
“If Urban did not approve the clearing down and receive financial clearance prior to the clearing down, there is no way and certainly there are no funds in this budget to accommodate such potential misuse of the public’s funds,” said Minister Rolle.
In addition to a request for legislation to govern its function, Urban will have a new face, outlook, and organizational structure.