Mr. Pemberton’s impressions came in an interview with the Department of Information on Thursday, at the end of a tour of five community centres, one each under construction in the villages of Cotton Ground, Jessups, Barnes Ghaut, Fountain and Combermere. He accompanied Social Development Minister Hon. Hensley Daniel and Special Advisor to that Ministry Mr. Halstead Byron.
The Permanent Secretary explained that the building designs were done in consultation with persons within the respective communities since community development dealt with people who lived in the area. He said the Ministry was pleased to have involved them in the designs prior to construction.
Mr. Pemberton noted that the buildings were nearing completion and the necessary work regarding equipment for the facilities had commenced. He spoke to the programmes planned for the centres once they were opened to the public.
“We are looking forward to open the community centres. We have already secured or in the process of securing the equipment that would be used in the community centres to ensure that the programmes and activities that we have already planned, would be of importance to the persons in the community because we want them to be involved in the use and management of the centres.
“We want to actually give them some responsibility of taking care of the community centres because they are within the community and only then they can understand and appreciate the good work of the Nevis Island Administration,” he said.
Meantime, Mr. Byron also indicated his satisfaction with the buildings in terms of construction works, the building’s designs and size and the room allocation which he said augured well for community development in the various communities.
The Special Advisor pointed to the new approach to community development when the sitting NIA came into office in 2006.
“When the NRP Government came to power in 2006 the Hon. Hensley Daniel set about immediately to ensure that we had a number of programmes in community development and training programmes introduced in the various communities.
“We are now at the stage where we are completing these community centres so that those programmes that have been developed over the last several years can now continue in a central part of the various communities,” he said.
Mr. Byron explained that the five centres were a new feature for the communities and believed they would provide an avenue for greater unity and to fight social ills.
“It is a glorious opportunity for all the people in the various communities to come together, to harmonise, to involve the young people especially, to deal with the social programmes that we are offering, so that we could work towards mitigating the crime situation and violence, drug abuse and all the social ills that face us at the moment.
“A key part of these community centres and the programmes as well as community education, non formal skills training and certainly this is something that would benefit the various communities,” he said.
Mr. Byron used the opportunity to praise Mr. Daniel and the entire Nevis Reformation Party-led NIA for what he described as a new phase of government that would facilitate the involvement of the people of all ages.