Merge CUMI, City Spirit
THE Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce has recommended that the operations of CUMI be merged with those of MoBay City Spirit.
“(The Committee for the Upliftment of the mentally Ill) CUMI needs funding,” chamber president Mark Kerr-Jarrett said at the organisation’s recent annual general meeting.
“Given the bang for the buck that CUMI gives, we believe they should look at the consolidation of CUMI and City Spirit or at least have them operate in conjunction.”
He added that it was the chamber’s view that the government should provide the bulk of the funding after the two entities are merged.
“It is the government’s responsibility to look after those who can’t look after themselves,” he said. “We really believe the government should step up to the plate.”
Through its Brandon Hill day shelter and its Albion Road night shelter, CUMI provides medium term rehabilitation programmes for the mentally ill.
City Spirit provides short-term care to walk-in clients, mainly in the form of providing meals and clothing.
While not dismissing the merger outright, CUMI nurse/administrator Joy Crooks expressed reservations about the wisdom of such a move.
“City Spirit was supposed to be a soup kitchen, we offer a structured rehabilitation programme for clientele over a period of time and then they are returned to their communities,” she explained. “We would need to have further dialogue. They would have to lay out what services City Spirit would provide as compared to what we would provide to see if this merger is possible.”
The Chamber of Commerce has come under flak, over the past two years, because of the unproved perception that some of its members may have been involved in the street people removal. The anti-chamber wave was also compounded by its decision to cut its funding to CUMI.
But according to Kerr-Jarrett, the chamber is now resolved to “help CUMI and City Spirit with any fund-raising activities” they stage.