During a ceremony Thursday, February 28, 2019 a total of 41 persons from Bain and Grants Town communities became the first set of Environmental Monitors after 12 weeks of intense training. The ceremony was held at the Wesley Methodist Church hall on Meadow Street, during which Minister of the Environment and Housing the Hon. Romauld Ferreira delivered remarks on the initiative – a partnership between the Over-the Hill Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Department of Environmental Health Services.
This particular effort sees a partnership between The Over-the-Hill Initiative and the Ministry of the Environment & Housing, which last year introduced the #Be A Hero Campaign to recognize community leaders for going the extra mile. Samita Ferguson, Executive Manager of the Over-the-Hill Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister underscored the importance of the partnership initiative. Also present at the graduation ceremony were the Members of Parliament for Centreville, and Bain and Grant’s Town, Reece Chipman and Travis Robinson, respectively.
The Over-The-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative is serious about its mandate to transform lives and bring rejuvenation to the Bain & Grants Town and Centerville communities according to Mrs. Ferguson. The Environmental Monitors hail from the various communities within the Over-the-Hill area. Now that they have graduated, their responsibilities will vary from ensuring the areas are free from environmental infractions such as illegal dumping, monitoring target areas daily, filing weekly reports and presenting evidence that could lead to offenders being charged in a revived environmental court.
The ongoing cleanup campaign entails a four-pronged approach. Once the monitor identifies an abandoned vehicle or another hazard, a notice would be placed on it with a request for removal within a given timeframe. Other aspects include a doubling of regular garbage collection with twice weekly pick-ups in the targeted areas; and the concern of abandoned, derelict buildings. The Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative, officially launched in May 2018, is built around six key pillars designed to fully restore the Over-the-Hill residential areas. The pillars are:
· Social Empowerment;
· Economic Empowerment;
· Smart Technology;
· Green and Sustainable Technology; and
· Programmes for the Youth and the Elderly.
The Over-the-Hill Community Development Partnership Initiative is the brainchild of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert A Minnis, whose goal is to transform those communities into cleaner and safer environments, while economically empowering residents.