Phillips says politics of participation still central to PNP

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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LEADER of the Opposition and President of the People's National Party (PNP) Dr Peter Phillips says the opening of the Frankfield Conference and Resource Centre in Clarendon, has restored faith in the power of community activism to chart its own destiny and work on solving the problems affecting the community.

He said that the development of the resource centre demonstrates unbiased leadership and a community of people working together to execute a shared vision.

Dr Phillips applauded the efforts of Richard Azan, the Member of Parliament of North West Clarendon, who by his leadership upheld the longstanding community self-help tradition of the PNP.

Community engagement and participation, Dr Phillips said, are important factors in the growth and development of communities and the nation, and these are principles central to the foundation on which the PNP was formed and which have inspired many of the party's policies.

“It is this same tradition and commitment to a politics of participation that created EPOC as an innovative part of the Economic Reform Programme in the last PNP Administration. It is the same philosophy that instituted student representation on school boards and established and energized the Community Development Committees (CDCs), among others,” Dr Phillips said.

He said that the PNP's passion for building the capacity for community self-help and self-reliance is rooted in the transformational community organising work of its founding leader, NW Manley, with Jamaica Welfare.

Meanwhile, MP Azan, who spearheaded the project, said “the building now belongs to the community and will not be controlled by any political group; it was created with the effort of the people and it is for the people to facilitate the development of the entire community in a non-biased way.”

Azan also revealed that the oversight of the centre will be handled by the Frankfield Lay Magistrate's Association.

He dismissed calls for the building to be named in his honour, saying the need and mission for community development, especially for the benefit of students, who are negatively affected by the lack of these resources as the new building provides.

The resource centre was built to accommodate up to 100 people and is expected to free up other critical public buildings that are heavily in use on a regular basis.

Prior to the opening of the conference and resource centre, major community meetings were held at schools and churches, which often interrupt regular services and classes.

The centre was constructed over a three-year period at a cost of $30.5 million dollars under the Community Development Fund programme.

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