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Community Resource Centre Refurbishment Project Underway

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Monday, February 18, 2002 – The first of a number of small contracts for renovation work on Community Resource Centres in selected areas on the island has been signed. On Monday, February 18, 2002 officials of the St. Lucia Rural Enterprise Project (SLREP), the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries which oversees the SLREP, and contractor Matthew Constantine affixed their signatures to the contract for work on the Fond St. Jacques centre. The contract is valued at over ninety five thousand Eastern Caribbean dollars (EC$95,000.00)

SLREP Project Coordinator David Demacque explained that the refurbished and re-activated centres would serve a number of purposes, providing not only a meeting place for community discussion but training in specific areas as well.

“The community resource centres are supposed to serve as a hub of activity to help community residents in training and human resource development,” said Demacque. “One will also to be done in Mon Repos and another one is in the pipeline for La Maze, (Choiseul). These areas we believe are very important because of the absence of such facilities.”

In some areas, Demacque said, the facilities are available but have been have been out of use for a long time.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Dr. James Fletcher says while the SLREP boasts of a very strong agricultural component, there is also a great amount of rural development and social transformation activities taking place under the project. In light of that Dr. Fletcher has called for strengthening of the links between the SLREP and other government agencies such as the Ministry of Social Transformation.

“One of the areas I think we need to strengthen in SLREP is the interaction between the project and the non-Ministry of Agriculture related agencies. For example, the Ministry of Social Transformation has to play a very large role in SLREP. We, at the level of the steering committee, need to find new ways of interacting with the Ministry of Social Transformation,” he explained.

According to Dr. Fletcher rural development is a multi-faceted activity which involves government agencies responsible for planning, housing and other services, playing key roles.

The SLREP is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of St. Lucia. The project has mainly focused its activities in the southern portion of the country, but attempts are being made to replicate the experience and successes in other parts of the country.


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