November 18, 2015: The following is the feature address by the Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts, Dr. the Honourable Nyan Gadsby-Dolly on the occasion of the formal opening Bamboo Settlement No. 3 Community Centre
A pleasant afternoon to all.
It is indeed my pleasure to be here this afternoon for this formal opening of the Bamboo Settlement No. 3 Community Centre which was done through the Community Centres Construction and Refurbishment Programme of the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts.
This is a particularly special moment for the members of this community who will benefit directly from this refurbished Centre. I know that the journey has been long and I thank you, residents, for your patience and cooperation as we worked to ensure that your Centre was completed and ready for use.
I assure you that the wait is over and the best is yet to come!
Your community facility now has an air conditioned auditorium, outfitted with a performance stage, specialised lighting and dressing rooms, a training room, kitchen, classrooms and a Manager’s Office. The building also has provisions for persons who are differently-abled.
This edifice, though is not simply a structure. This space will become a principal hub for all your educational, cultural and recreational community activities.
Women and seniors, especially, will have a safe place to interact and share their points of view.
Children and the youth will come here to learn, to gain an appreciation of their culture and for recreation.
Groups and Civil Society Organizations will gather here to discuss the best resolution for issues like poverty, unemployment and social injustice.
In fact, the entire community will be protected here as this Centre will also transform to an emergency shelter during times of disasters.
Additionally, the Community Centres Construction and Refurbishment Programme also aims to maximize the positive outcomes of national spending through the stimulation of a thriving micro-enterprise. The construction of Centres, like this, creates prospects for substantive employment for small contractors and artisans within communities.
Thus, I believe that the investment in the refurbishment of this facility, of over Three Million, one hundred thousand dollars, was money wellspent.
I was quite pleased to hear that this centre was refurbished within budget. I believe that this also deserves a round of applause.
In this regard, I want acknowledge our Project Managers, the National Commission for Self Help Limited and the Contractor,Paras Singh General Contractors Limited, for this example of proper governance in the use of resources and taxpayers’ hard earned dollars.
I must stress, though, that with the financial constraints under which we currently operate, it is important that there is proper management of the investment made to support this community programme. Holistic and consistent administration policies and maintenance procedures are critical.
The delivery of Community Centres to the people of this nation aligns to the Government’s philosophy that no community is too small; and no village is too rural for investment, because no one should be left behind.
In fact, it is our Government’s intention to focus on completing and commissioning Community Centres that are currently at advanced stages of construction. At the same time, we will also place additional focus on those Centres that are in a serious state of disrepair and carded for modernisation or replacement. We understand the important role that Community Centres can play in shaping our country’s future.
As I listened to the Secretary’s report, which provided a very good account of the cherished and treasured memories of this community, it was reminiscent of the Community Centre in my own area and its impact on my experiences and development as a child. I recall the passion and unwavering spirit of the elders who spearheaded activities which enhanced community life. I am also reminded of the pride with which residents cared for the Centre.
I expect the same sense of dignity in this community which will ensure that this Centre is maintained for generations and years to come.
As I close, ladies and gentlemen, I wish thank our Permanent Secretary, the Director and Officers of Community Development, and the Project Unit, for their assistance in ensuring that all was in place to open this centre today.
To the people of Bamboo Settlement and environs, I am very confident that, as you gather in this Centre to collaborate with your neighbours, not only will your sense of community and national pride grow, but you will transform lives.
It is my absolute pleasure to declare the Bamboo Settlement No. 3, Community Centre…. officially open!
I thank you.