#Bahamas, April 28, 2018 – Nassau – Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis Wednesday unveiled his Administration’s strategy for the revitalization of the Over-the-Hill Community in New Providence, promising to do those things necessary to ensure this Community “could continue to thrive.”
“We know that no (previous) Government has consistently invested what needed to be invested on a sustained basis to ensure that this community could continue to thrive,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“History is replete with many announced, but unsustainable projects such as The Grants Town Renewal Project in the mid-1980s. My Government is determined to change this.”
The Prime Minister made the comments while tabling his Administration’s White Paper on the Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative in the House of Assembly Wednesday (April 25).
The Initiative will utilize a number of wide-ranging strategies that are designed to “strike at the heart” of many of the issues facing inner-city communities and residents such as hard economic times and high incidences of crime and poverty that are exacerbated by poor infrastructure, the abandonment of the area by many traditional families and the increasing impoverishment of the environment by dilapidated housing and illegal garbage and waste disposal.
Some of the strategies include the strengthening of social support systems, improving access to support, coordinating with existing programmes to ensure that community centres are better utilized to meet key needs, working with partners (inside and outside of Government) to improve the employability of Over-the-Hill residents, improving child care options for working parents in the Over-the-Hill area and improving access to healthcare services including primary, mental and family planning services, in addition to services for those with substance abuse disorders and gambling addictions, among many others.
Other strategies call for the strengthening of Community Policing initiatives and increased surveillance of known drug dealers, gun offenders, repeat offenders and child molesters as part of the strategy to “take back our Over-the-Hill streets.”
Programmes have been developed around smart solutions to make better use of technology and alternative energy while additional plans call for an increase in existing waste collection efforts.
Focus has also been placed on improving housing in the Over-the-Hill Community and a “Water For All” Strategy to eliminate the need for standpipes and Outside Toilets by the year 2025.
The Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative is based on six key pillars that include: social empowerment, economic empowerment, rejuvenation, smart technology, green and sustainable technology and programmes for the youth and the elderly.
Prime Minister Minnis told House Members Wednesday that critical to social empowerment is the process to become more self- reliant and to comprehensively address poverty.
The programmes contained therein will focus on poverty reduction, skills upgrading and training, supporting employment opportunities for residents, supporting community building, health and wellness programmes and crime reduction.
These efforts will include strengthening the social support systems and facilities for families within the Over-the-Hill Community.
“We will be mapping and assessing existing social support services, improving access to support, strengthen broader social assistance programmes and coordinating with existing programmes to ensure that our community centres are better utilized to meet key needs,” Prime Minister Minnis said.
“We will work with other partners inside and outside of government to improve employability of Over-the-Hill residents. One tangible programme is to facilitate the training of Over-the-Hill residents to gain drivers license.”
By: Matt Maura (BIS)