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Thursday, April 27, 2006 






Clergy asked to support Urban Renewal

Bahamas Information Services
04/27/2006

Minister of Social Services, Melanie Griffin (seated) gets a hands on feel of the equipment. Also pictured are Commissioner of Police Paul Farquharson, Mrs Rosemary Thompson, and Mrs Corene Thompson, wife and mother respectively of late Archdeacon William E Thompson. (BIS photo by Gladstone Thurston)

NASSAU, The Bahamas – In a passionate plea to members of the clergy, Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie invited them to join the Government in fighting the social ills plaguing the country, through the Urban Renewal Progamme.

He issued the invitation during a meeting held Thursday, April 20, at Superclubs Breezes, where the clergymen received an extensive overview of the Urban Renewal Programme and the challenges that need to be addressed.

“We can make a major difference if we put our hands to the wheel to make it happen,” the Prime Minister told the clergymen. Presentations were made by Dr. Desiree Cox, Consultant, Urban Renewal Transformation and Research Unit; ASP Elseworth Moss; Supt Keith Bell and Dr Nicollette Bethel, Director of CultureThe audience, which also comprised members of the Cabinet, were updated; via slide presentations, on crime statistics, the rise in child pornography, an assortment of sharp weapons confiscated from students, amongst other issues. “The idea and invitation was predicated on the fact that I am of the considered view that we do not do enough as a Government and we do not do enough as a people in our country to firstly, understand the challenges that our people face and giving ourselves sufficient time to strategise, to design ways of overcoming the challenges,” the Prime Minister said.

He noted however, that the issues are not going to be solved in one day. Rather, by following examples of other countries which faced similar challenges and have designed programmes for success and for The Bahamas to implement them.

Having served as a Cabinet Minister since the 1970s, the Prime Minister said he has seen a number of issues addressed, and that in every file in Government, there have been strategies to deal with these challenges.

“But for whatever reason, there has never been this picture painted of challenges where we are able to take one, as a Government, a comprehensive, unified, integrated and coordinated approach to solving the problems because on a given day, the department or ministry is trying to deal with the problems of that day,” he said.

The Prime Minister noted that although there are trained personnel in place, governments have not effectively utilised planning strategies to tackle the issues.

He said that the reason why he has been so strong on the church making a commitment is because the Government does not have by itself, the resources to engage in the measuring and monitoring we do.

According to the Prime Minister, it is not the intention for politicians to exploit Urban Renewal, but to create the mechanism for the community to steer the programme.

“We need bodies and we need leaders. The most effective leaders are in the church,” he said. “Unless we are able to be relevant to the people, through relevant programmes and relevant approaches, we are not going to understand these challenges until we are going to have to make them up. The brainchild of Prime Minister the Rt Hon Perry Christie and devised by Police Commissioner Paul Farquharson, the scheme, which started out as the Farm Road Project, can be viewed as one of the most ambitious crime reduction experiments undertaken by the Police Force in recent history.

The scheme exists in Bain and Grants Town, Englerston, St. Cecilia, Fort Charlotte, and Grand Bahama. Plans are underway to institute the programme throughout the country

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