NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Small Home Repairs Programme of the Urban Renewal Programme has improved the living conditions of 3,000 Bahamians in 23 constituencies, while providing job opportunities and economic empowerment for many others since its launch in November, 2013, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis said Wednesday.
Mr. Davis said the Programme has repaired over 600 houses throughout New Providence alone since its launch, while engaging 400 contractors to repair those houses. More than 1,000 tradespersons (carpenters, masons, electricians, tile layers, plumbers and helpers) have also been employed as a result of the Programme, many of whom have used smaller vendors to procure their supplies.
The Urban Renewal Programme 2.0 celebrated its third anniversary earlier this year and according to the Deputy Prime Minister, “is thriving on the islands of New Providence, Grand Bahama, Abaco, Cat Island, Eleuthera and Andros.”
Mr. Davis said the Programme will be established on other islands during the 2015-2016 Fiscal Year as an integral part of the initiative for building a ‘Safer and Stronger Bahamas.’
“I can truly say without fear of successful challenge that this Government’s introduction of the Urban Renewal Programme has positively impacted the quality of life of residents, especially in targeted, traditional communities such as Bain and Grant’s Town, Centreville and Englerston,” Mr. Davis said.
“When you consider the families that have realized an income because of this programme, we know that the Urban Renewal Programme has, as a rule, yielded good value for money spent.”
Deputy Prime Minister Davis said while he would be the first to acknowledge that the Urban Renewal Programme is not a panacea for all social ills in The Bahamas, the fact cannot be ignored that the country’s urban and traditional communities “are the richer because of it.”
Urban Renewal’s projects and programmes, Mr. Davis said, allow the Government of The Bahamas to address the social, educational and community development of urban residents by engendering community spirit, cohesion and community and leadership development – particularly amongst younger Bahamians, while assisting with the re-entry of ex-convicts into society through the Second Chance Programme.
The programme has also assisted the physically and mentally challenged persons in those communities; led to the rehabilitation of houses in urban communities; created opportunities for economic empowerment; facilitated the prevention and reduction of crime; and has promoted clean, green, physical environs.
“In seeking to create a stronger, safer and more modern Bahamas, innovations target the transformation of human lives and the rehabilitation of physical infrastructure in the Inner-City,” Mr. Davis said.
“Within the Urban Renewal Programme, the poor, the disenfranchised, the unemployed, parents with at-risk youth, children and the elderly all have means to access assistance with repair and modernization of existing hours and general improvement of community environments.
“In times like these, we need to be firmly anchored so as to maintain our traditional morals and values; our culture; our rich heritage, remembering that we are one people, One Bahamas. In times like these, The Bahamas needs the anchor of 21st Century social and educational programmes to prepare our people to face the challenges of a post-modern era,” Mr. Davis added.