NASSAU, The Bahamas – Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development the Hon. Philip Davis told the House of Assembly, on July 25, 2012, that social workers have been assigned to the nine re-furbished Urban Renewal Centres in New Providence and locations for the seven centres in Grand Bahama are presently being sourced and social workers will be assigned.
“This is designed to ensure that persons in need are able to access the help required without having to ‘jump through hoops’ or having to navigate though the sometime labyrinthine (complicated) process of Government services,” Deputy Prime Minister Davis said.
“If someone needs help, we want to be able to provide the help before it becomes critical and life threatening,” he added. “We support the philosophy that we who are able and who have, are required to offer from our surfeit (surplus) to those in need.”
Deputy Prime Minister Davis said that a Deputy Director for Grand Bahama has been employed. However, he pointed out that the National Director for Urban Renewal, as well as most staff have yet to be employed, but all are expected to be selected and contracted by mid-August 2012.
“There are those who have been most critical of the decision of the Government to acknowledge that contracts of employment for two years, entered into during June 2010 for most of the staff of the previous version of Urban Renewal, should be allowed to lapse,” he said.
“Some of the personnel employed in Urban Renewal through June 2012, were public service staff and each of these remain in post,” he added. “Some of the staff were recognised by the managers of the programme as especially talented or necessary and these contracts were extended.
“All other persons who had contracts have been going through a review process. Some will be offered new two-year contracts. Some will not be re-engaged. New staff will be engaged as necessary to carry out the Commission’s projects.”
Deputy Prime Minister Davis said that, in the meantime, community clean-up and social support services have been provided in Urban Renewal districts on an accelerated basis since June and will continue unabated.
“We are very proud of the members of the Royal Bahamas Police Force who have been assigned to Community Policing duties working out of Urban Renewal Centres,” he added. “We are very pleased that our hope for Community Policing was synchronous (happening simultaneously) with the design developed by the Commissioner of Police in his ‘Policing Plan 2012’, which he clearly stated was similar to his Policing Plan for 2011, which received no criticism from those who now criticise his plan.
“We remain grateful to the Commissioner and all police officers for their dedicated service to The Bahamas.”
Deputy Prime Minister Davis said that the Government does not believe that Urban Renewal 2.0 is the panacea for all that is wrong in The Bahamas; but the Government does believe that it would be wrong to sit back and do nothing, while bemoaning the poor conditions in which so many of citizens find themselves living.
“We know that we have a responsibility to help and it is our privilege to lend a caring hand-up to brothers and sisters in need,” Deputy Prime Minister Davis said. “We are very proud of the plan for Urban Renewal 2.0 and commend it to one and all.”