Senator Donna Cox (2nd from left), Minister of Social Development and Family Services, and her Adviser Ms. Miriam Jacobs (left), meet with Mr. Anthony Watkins (2nd from right) and Hasely Crawford (right) of the Community Recovery Committee, at the Ministry’s Head Office on Friday 4 December 2020. (Image courtesy Ministry of Social Development and Family Services)

At-risk communities across the country are expected to benefit from a firm collaboration between the Community Recovery Committee and the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, designed to bring about renewal and build resilience in such vulnerable areas.

According to an official statement issued by the Ministry, the partnership “to ensure that the vulnerable are not left behind” was cemented following a meeting between Minister Donna Cox and Committee representatives—Anthony Watkins and Hasley Crawford—on Friday 4 December 2020.

The Community Recovery Committee was established in July 2020 by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.  It is tasked with the responsibility of developing a plan to address issues affecting at risk communities.

Anthony Watkins revealed that the Committee will focus on four key strategies to address the factors that contribute to community decline: Community Pride and Ownership; Human Development; Social Stability and Support; and Business Generation and Economic Development.

Minister Cox stated that the Integrated Community First Responders System will be an important factor in building positive relations within communities.

She also identified several of the key factors behind the social ills experienced within at-risk communities, noting they included poor parenting, crime, poverty, lack of employment and other environmental factors.

Minister Cox reported that the Ministry has a suite of programmes and services designed to address some of the social ills outlined by the Committee.  Among other programmes designed to help empower and transition persons out of poverty and vulnerability, these include:

● Parenting skills workshop

● Counselling and psychological support through the National Family Services Division

● Opportunities for entrepreneurship through the Sowing Empowerment Entrepreneurial Development Programme