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PIOJ starts dialogue on sustainable development and ageing population

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

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SCORES of residents, business interests, and other stakeholders in Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth got the opportunity to voice concerns and propose recommendations on matters relating to the country's sustainable development and ageing population, during the Planning Institute of Jamaica's (PIOJ) inaugural 'Dialogue for Development Series' public consultation in Mandeville, last Thursday.

The event was held at Golf View Hotel under the theme: 'Ageing and Development: Exploding Myths, Exploring Opportunities'.

PIOJ senior director for corporate marketing and communication, Marcia Blake-Hall, said the series is intended to examine the correlative social, economic and environmental implications of ageing in sustainable development; facilitate discussions on how ageing can influence policy formulation in various sectors; and explore the opportunities that ageing offers to the economy and society.

In his remarks, Custos Rotulorum for Manchester Garfield Green underscored the need for continuous improvement and upgrading of infrastructures to accommodate the ageing population.

“We want to see more employment and the expansion of our infrastructures so that our fellow citizens, youth, middle-aged and ageing persons are engaged to their potential. This means that we must do our best to ensure that the most vulnerable persons are able to contribute. Therefore, we will need to invest more in information and communications technology (ICT) in our homes, businesses, and public services,” he noted.

Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell noted that the ageing population must be at the forefront of discussions regarding sustainable development plans.

He said consequent on their awareness of changes in the population, residents and other stakeholders in Mandeville and, by extension, Manchester, have instituted several measures designed to safeguard the welfare of senior citizens, and facilitate the resettlement of returning residents.

“Through the Manchester Development Order of 2015, the Town and Country Planning Revised Act of 2001, and the Building Act of 2018…we ensure that this [senior citizens] group is taken care of,” the mayor stated.

Councillor Mitchell also advised that Manchester is among the first parishes to establish a chapter of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons.

Additionally, he said officers of the Manchester Municipal Corporation have met with representatives of Northern Caribbean University (NCU), among other stakeholders, “and looked at how we could develop the parish along the lines that the population of Mandeville is getting older, and that it is the best place that the returning residents would want to come and live”.

Councillor Mitchell indicated that the corporation was reviewing the Local Sustainable Development Plan, and was engaged in stakeholder discussions regarding Mandeville's expansion, the establishment of a new fire station and police station, and how best to utilise the town's Brooks Park multipurpose complex.

The next forum in the series is slated for November 14 at St John's Anglican Church hall, in Ocho Rios, St Ann.


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