Friday, 24 August 2012

A Single Caribbean Sports Academy – Part 2

By Sir Ronald Sanders

The success of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) athletes at the 2012 Olympic Games in London has created an illusion of the greatness of athleticism throughout the region. The brutal truth is that it is athletes from only four countries, principally Jamaica, who were responsible for the Caribbean’s success.

Jamaica won 12 medals (4 gold) and was number 18 of the 79 counties that won medals. Trinidad and Tobago at number 47 was next with 5 medals (one gold) followed by the Bahamas and Grenada jointly at number 50 with I medal each (gold). Unfortunately, the other 9 participating CARICOM countries won nothing. Therefore, CARICOM countries collectively won 19 out of 302 medals. 

The jeopardy of the claim that “Caribbean” athletes did so well is that governments and the private sector might relax into believing that they need do nothing to develop athletes since their natural talent will guarantee success. That would be a dangerous fallacy.  

But, let me praise the CARICOM athletes. Coming from a total population of just over 5 million people and with very little financial support they were outstanding, and the Caribbean people have every right to be proud of them. Usain Bolt has done more to make the world aware and admiring of Jamaica than anyone since or before Bob Marley. Keshorn Walcott, who won the Javelin gold medal, has certainly made Finland and Eastern European countries aware of Trinidad and Tobago. He has claimed a place that they long held and he has simply boggled their minds.  Grenada’s young Kirani James was stunning in winning gold in the 400 metres, but he was extraordinary in waiting to congratulate the man who finished the race last – the double-amputee from South Africa Oscar Pistorius. James won gold in the hearts of people all over the world for that single act of human kindness. He was a credit to the Caribbean. 

Other competed well in their heats, among them Daniel Bailey of Antigua and Ryan Brathwaite of Barbados. They gave their all, and they deserve praise for their magnificent efforts. They would certainly have done better with more help.

The stamp that the athletes who won gold medals have put on competitive sport at a global level has earned their countries global recognition. It is recognition on which the tourism authorities, especially in Jamaica, should capitalise on now and invest in for the future.
But, are the 15 Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries ready for a single Sports Academy, located in Jamaica (as was proposed in my last commentary) to be charged with the specific responsibility of preparing the region’s ‘elite’ athletes for international competition? The proposal for such an Academy is not “instead of” national training and coaching starting from primary schools. It is very much “in addition” to such training and coaching. Without it, the Caribbean’s ‘elite’ athletes will compete at the global level and some of them will succeed, but the performance of the London Olympics will not be sustained, and it may well decline. Even the best athletes require financial support, professional coaching and proper training – that’s what turns raw talent into sustained winners. And that is what a single Sports Academy, supported by governments and the private sector of the region, should be doing.

As an example, the British government is investing US$790 million over the next four years in preparing British athletes for the Rio Olympics in 2016. 

Could a single Sports Academy for the Caribbean Community happen? Below is a sampling of the responses that my last commentary received. 

From the Bahamas: “The Caribbean excelled at London, however at least for the Bahamas if it was not for the numerous Athletic Scholarships to US Colleges and Universities there would not have been the success there has been. Other than Cuba, probably Jamaica is the only country that could fiscally develop this with athletes from the smaller countries co-using the facilities of Jamaica, but Jamaica is not going to fund that for fun. There will be a cost. Can the smaller countries afford the costs?”

From Grenada: “As a proud Grenadian, and as Jamaicans like to call us, ‘Small Islander’, I wish that there is no sports integration that includes Jamaica! It is bad enough that Jamaican music dominates the English-speaking Caribbean. Worst yet is that the violence and poverty that is endemic to Jamaica is slowly seeping to other peaceful islands. Jamaica should be for Jamaicans, and we should be happy for that. Furthermore, why would any other small island want to be lumped and piled with that chaotic trouble spot?”

From Jamaica: “The other Caribbean islands need to send students to GC Foster College to be trained as Athletic Instructors/Teachers and then they return to their countries and develop their own athletes. Further investment after the students have shown outstanding talent will have to be done by the private sector and the government of the specific country in that athlete.”

From Barbados: “We have to think Caribbean and put away the insular crap that allows us to consume ourselves rather than consummating ourselves. The expansion of the UWI High Performance Centre into all major sports, seeing a dedicated Athletics programme, wherein we identify potential future Olympians from age 15 or 16 and bring them into a high performance development programme, with very specific end goals, but as in the USA, catering to their educational requirements. Local qualifying criteria for the Olympics must be more stringent that even the present ones, e.g. sending a 100m contestant to the Olympics with a 10.2 sec qualifying time will see him just get out of the first round, at best. The Caribbean Governments missed the boat again when they allowed the lotteries to be privately owned. These should have been national lotteries with the net funds (millions of dollars) going specifically into the areas that were designated. We must engage world class coaches and ensure that our own coaches are developed to world class standards. What is required is: Vision, a sense of action and a commitment of appropriate resources.”

Amen to the last comment. But who will lead the action?

(The writer is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat. Responses and previous commentaries: www.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A single Caribbean Sports Academy to ensure future world champions

A Single Caribbean Sports Academy to 
ensure future World Champions 

On the basis of the size of populations and medals won, the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada would be ranked in first place in the 2012 Olympic Games in London with another Caribbean island, Jamaica, in second place – though with a larger number of medals. Officially, Jamaica is ranked at 18 and Grenada at 42. 
At the time of writing at the end of Day 13 of the 16-days Olympic Games, the United States is officially ranked number one with China in second place. But the medal haul of the US and China is drawn from populations of 312 million and 1.3 billion respectively, while Grenada’s medal – a gold for Kirani James in the 400 metre race – comes from a population of a mere 110 000 and Jamaica’s outstanding 9 medals (3 golds, 3 silvers and 3 bronze) from a population of 2.8 million. 
Using medals per head of population as a measurement, the US would be number 36 and China number 60. When Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is added to this analysis, Grenada and Jamaica perform even better. The United States and China are rated by the International Monetary Fund at first and second respectively as the two largest economies in the world, while Grenada and Jamaica are ranked at 172 and 113 of 182 nations.
As I write, there are three more days to go and more medals will be won by several countries, including the two leaders, the US and China, but also by Jamaica. 
In track and field, Caribbean athletes have shown that they are among the world’s best. This is cause for much pride by the people of these two English-Speaking Caribbean countries and their partner-countries in the Commonwealth Caribbean whose total population is just about 5 million people. The phenomenal Usain Bolt, who has spectacularly won two gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres events, and Yohan Blake, who took silver, behind him are as much heroes of their neighbouring English-speaking Caribbean countries as they are of their native Jamaica. So too are Warren Weir who gave Jamaica a clean sweep in the 200 metres by taking the bronze, and Hansle Parchment who won bronze in the 110 metre hurdles. The Jamaican women Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce (gold and silver in the 100 metres and 200 metres respectively) and Veronica Campbell Brown (bronze in the 100 metres) are also special heroines upholding the prowess of Caribbean womanhood and taking on the best of the United States.
It should be noted that, of the English-speaking Caribbean countries, Trinidad and Tobago also won a bronze medal through Gordon Lalonde who was third in the Men’s 400 metres event. Other Caribbean athletes, such as Antigua’s Daniel Bailey and Barbados’ Ryan Brathwaite, creditably made it to the finals and semi-finals.
But beyond the marvellous performances by these athletes is a reality that, apart from Jamaica, the development of sports persons in the English-speaking Caribbean countries is woefully poor. Neither governments nor the private sector in the region are contributing to the development of sports in the quantities that they should. Yet, everyone basks in the superb accomplishment of Caribbean athletes who triumph largely because of their natural talent and dedication. 
Caribbean countries have been lucky to have unearthed persons with natural talent, but that talent alone will not sustain them in the future against competition from athletes from other countries whose governments and private sector are investing heavily in them precisely because they want glorious results at the Olympics and other international games. For any athlete, while a substantial part of his or her capacity resides in natural talent, they will fail if they are denied financial support, good coaching and tireless training. 
This has been the basis for China’s success. Once identified, its sports persons are taken out of their homes and away from their families to spend years in rigorous training and coaching camps. This is the extreme position. No country has to go as far as separating sports persons from their homes and family for the inordinate length of time that China does, but all countries that want their sports people to do well because of the pride it brings to their people and the joy of seeing them win, have to invest in the facilities they need to become world champions.
Jamaica in the English-speaking Caribbean has invested more than any other country in the development of its athletics and sprinting, and it is reaping the benefit. In the case of Kirani James of Grenada, it should be recalled that he is a student at the University of Alabama in the US, where he has benefitted from the skills of a remarkable coach, Harvey Glance, and facilities that are far superior to anything in the region.
Even as the London 2012 Olympic events were in full swing, with the host country achieving a record collection of medals, leading sports persons warned the British government not to cut spending for sport. They cautioned that any cuts would have dire consequences for the performance of British sports persons in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil. It is significant that since London was awarded the Olympic Games seven years ago, the national lottery contributed US$390 million to support elite athletes. Little wonder that with a population of 59 million people – a third of the size of the US population and a fraction of China’s numbers, Britain is third in the medal winners.
The people of the English-speaking Caribbean have every reason to be proud of their athletes and of the impact they are making on the world, but this pride will not be sustained unless governments and the private sectors invest in the facilities these gifted athletes need. To ensure future champions, how about a single sports academy manned by outstanding coaches, located in Jamaica and funded by all the governments and private sectors of the Caribbean Community, for the region’s elite athletes?

(Sir Ronald Sanders is a Consultant and former Caribbean diplomat. Responses and previous commentaries: www.sirronald

Tax Weighing on region

Tax Weighing on region

THE world continues to be an unfriendly place when it comes to economic relations between large and small states. It is as if big countries expect to squeeze every ounce of resources out of smaller territories – and without looking to see what are the implications.
At a time when comments about co-operation and support flow from the mouths of those running the affairs of big countries, they somehow never seem to match their words with action. Instead, they have consistently adopted antagonistic postures.
The bone of contention here is the Air Passenger Duty (APD) which the United Kingdom Government has imposed on passengers travelling from the UK to destinations around the world. This measure, we are told, is in an attempt to deal with the environmental issue of climate change. But the tax is so structured that the burden has fallen on small island nations of the Caribbean which depend on tourism for their economic sustenance. Apparently seeming to care little about what this tax means to the Caribbean, the UK authorities continue as though everything is normal.
We wonder if there is not a global body which should be asked to intervene in this matter or where the Caribbean can lodge a protest to have it dealt with. Discussions with some who would know, suggest that it is not an issue for the World Trade Organisation, that global watchdog for free and fair trade, even if it comes over as a WTO member affecting the trade in service of another member. Normally, the WTO’s principle is that no state should erect trade barriers that would have a negative impact on another member, and that discrimination should be avoided in trade between countries.
Since we are also hearing about the Caribbean being discriminated against when it comes to this APD, it is time that someone advises regional governments about their options in having this matter brought to some Dispute Resolution Body.
This is in line with another report last December that the UK will continue to discriminate against the Caribbean in relation to the banding aspect of the Air Passenger Duty (APD) system. It is as if the British Government does not understand what this action means to these destinations, including Grenada.
Concerns have been voiced in several quarters about the devastating impact the APD is having on the tourism industry in the Caribbean. Airlines operating out of the UK have criticised the imposition; the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) had made it clear that it is deeply disappointed and surprised by the UK’s position; Tourism Ministers across the region are against it, and there are even some British MPs who find it distasteful.
The World Council of Tourism has, according to reports, urged the British Government to suspend the tax. In any case, the reports indicated, the Council reasoned that removing the controversial tax would result in the injection of £4.2 billion into the British economy, not forgetting the millions of jobs which can be created.
It should be recalled that in a 26-page document published last year, the British government said that APD rates to Caribbean destinations will continue to be considerably higher than those to some competitor destinations.
This tax is a blow to the normally friendly relations between the UK and the Caribbean, and for as long as it remains in place, those relations will be weakened.


Kirani James wants to help other youngsters get the same chances that brought him success. 


LONDON, UK – World and Olympic 400-metre champion Kirani James says one of his goals is to help stop talented young athletes in Grenada from falling out of grace with the sport.
The country’s most successful athlete says he has witnessed far too many young athletes in his homeland more talented than him fall by the wayside.
Addressing a news conference in London after comfortably winning the 400 metres to secure Grenada’s first Olympic medal James says he wants his success to inspire the country’s youth.
“I have seen a lot more guys a lot more talented than me but they didn’t have the determination and confidence to move forward,” James told journalists in London.
“So one of my jobs is to not let that happen again in my country. To keep on inspiring the kids to be whatever they want to be. The best that they can be.”
The 19-year-old surged to victory on Monday, August 6, 2012 in 43.94 seconds to capture as well the first Olympic gold medal for the OECS sub-region.
The Olympic title is the latest addition to his collection of major meets which also includes world senior, junior and youth.
“There was one guy, who was faster than me, but he fell along the way,” said James.
“It’s sad to see now because he was way more talented than me.”
James, who first dominated regional meets, including CARIFTA and CAC, said he is now in a position where he can create a positive path for these youngsters.
He said there are several things that can be done to let it work, among them he noted “is to get their confidence up and tell them to believe they can compete”.


Combined medal haul by CARICOM nations at London Olympics surpasses Beijing tally

Caribbean has one of its best Olympic showings

AS Saturday’s men’s 4x100 metres relay race brought the curtain down on the English-speaking Caribbean’s performance at the London 2012 Olympics, it was a superior performance to the region’s outing at the games four years earlier. 
By the close of the games on Sunday, August 12, the official tally for the countries of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stood at 18 with seven gold, four silver and seven bronze – surpassing the 15 taken in Beijing four years ago.
Jamaica continues to be the CARICOM pace-setter for at the Olympics. When Usain Bolt blazed across the finish line Saturday to lead the Jamaican men to a new world record of 36.84 seconds in the 4x100 metres relay it was a fitting performance to cap off a 12-medal haul for the Jamaican contingent. Team Jamaica acquired a perfect set of four each of the gold, silver and bronze medals in these games, captured primarily by their outstanding track & field team. 
While all eyes were on the superstar sprinter, who confirmed his dominance by retaining his Olympic titles from last year and silencing speculation that team-mate Yohan Blake could cause one of the games’ biggest upsets; other CARICOM nations were quietly making history on the tracks.
Another tall, lanky runner in the form of Kirani James powered home in the 400-metres race to bring his island Grenada its first ever Olympic gold medal. This was enough to place Grenada at the top of the medal standings in a tongue-in-cheek medal table by ABC Grandstand Sports, which ranked countries according to the number of gold medals it achieved per capita and Gross Domestic Product. As a result of its small population and economy, Grenada was able to beat Jamaica into second place in this ranking. 
The 19-year-old from the Grenadian fishing village of Gouyave not only delivered a gold medal, but a half-day holiday for his people as the Grenadian government declared that the nation could have the afternoon off last Tuesday after James won his race. 
Also benefiting from a national holiday will be the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar declared in an address to the nation yesterday (August 12) evening that today would be a national holiday to celebrate the country’s best performance ever at an Olympic games.
Trinidad and Tobago ended this year’s games with a medal tally of one gold and three bronze medals. The gold medal was won in spectacular fashion by another Caribbean 19-year-old, Kershorn Walcott, who did cause one of the biggest upsets of the games. The javelin thrower not only gave the twin island-republic its second ever Olympic gold medal, but he also amazed the world by snatching victory away from his eastern European competitors to be the first person from the western hemisphere to win gold in that event in the past 60 years. 
Also storming their way into national history was the Bahamian 4x400 metre relay team. Winning their nation’s only medal at the 2012 Olympics, they also brought home The Bahamas’ first gold medal in that event.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Obtaining more from the China relationship

Obtaining more from the China relationship

To a significant extent, the history of Caribbean economic development has been led by one or another nation external to the region seeking advantage for itself or for its enterprises.  
If history is not to repeat itself and the region is to gain from China’s carefully expressed desire for a special relationship, much will depend on recognising this, and channelling Beijing’s support in ways that have long term, lasting and mutual value. If the region does not, it will confirm and help deliver the view, so far only heard in private in some parts of the region, that its interest amounts to a new form of imperialism.  
Last week I wrote about China’s long-term thinking about the Caribbean and Latin America and how this had been set out clearly by China’s Premier, Wen Jiabao, when he spoke in June in Chile. I noted that what Beijing is now proposing is a more profound relationship, and suggested that careful thought and management was required as the depth and breadth of the relationship changed.
Over the last few months, I have been speaking to ministers and opposition figures about how they see the deepening relationship with China proceeding. What emerges is that while they and Governments are willing to embrace the benefits that China is bringing in development assistance, loans, expertise and more, not much consideration has yet been given to how the relationship might be broadened to leverage sustainable growth and prosperity. They also suggest that while the North American and European economic and political relationship remain of significance, it is only though Chinese investment, loans and support will they be able to deliver what they aspire to for their nations.
For Chinese support to be truly beneficial to the Caribbean, the region needs to do much more to seize the economic opportunity and find practical ways in which those in the real economy might benefit. 
It is one thing for Chinese companies using Chinese workers to find opportunity in construction, infrastructure or investment projects that will be Chinese delivered or owned on often surprisingly favourable terms, and yet quite another for Caribbean business to find opportunities in China, provide services or establish ties that will bring growth and development to the region.
In practical terms this means that if the region is also to benefit, Caribbean business has to find ways to partner with Chinese companies, develop joint ventures in manufacturing in the Caribbean for the US and Latin American markets, identify higher value added goods and services for which there might be a market in China or with Chinese business into other parts of the world, and to more generally become active in seeking opportunity in China or with Chinese counterparts.  
More specifically, this will require financing and larger regional companies to visit to explain the nature of Caribbean business and regional commercial norms to Chinese entrepreneurs; or to suggest, for instance, that the region could become a base for joint ventures to manufacture goods that for instance might access the European, US, Canadian markets under existing or new trade arrangements making use of Chinese inputs coming through an enlarged Panama Canal.
Chinese officials are presently discussing some of this with Caribbean Export and other development agencies in the region, but what is needed is for a small number of leading Caribbean companies in the region to begin to explore at for instance trade fairs in China, how new partnerships might be created and financed in the region.
Likewise the tourism sector, both public and private, also needs to respond to the ideas floated by China in Trinidad last year, not just to bring visitors to the region but to deepen co-operation and exchanges to develop mutually beneficial enterprises and institutional support.
No one should remain in any doubt about the extent of China’s interest in a deep and long lasting relationship with all of the nations of the Caribbean and Latin America. To rehearse the depth and breadth of existing Chinese initiatives would much more space than is available. 
Significantly, though there are many straws in the wind: China is upgrading its diplomatic facilities across the region; is looking at the possibility of establishing a manufacturing logistics and distribution centres in one or another northern Caribbean nation for transhipment of goods to North America, Latin America and the Caribbean; is exploring with some nations such as Suriname double tax agreements and visa waiver arrangements; and is providing equipment to a number of Caricom defence and police forces. It also signed eight agreements during the recent visit of Cuba’s President, Raul Castro, to Beijing that may see much greater Chinese involvement in many aspects of the Cuban economy including the construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure, port development, oil exploration, health care facilities, and in agriculture in relation to food production and export. 
Beyond this, at a broader level China is encouraging the internationalisation of its own currency. It is promoting, the Yuan, in trade in Latin America, particularly in relation to payments for minerals and food, with the apparent objective of supporting its use as a reserve currency and to facilitate the purchase of Chinese capital goods and trade. Separately, the Export Import Bank of China is in negotiations with the IADB to establish a Yuan fund worth US$1billion to finance infrastructure projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. 
Where this seems to lead is to the possibility that that if well considered, China’s support with Caribbean economic development could drive growth.  In this respect, a recent World Bank publication is particularly interesting, suggesting that there is a case to explore further whether the Latin American and Caribbean region might beyond Beijing’s commodity purchases and infrastructural support, leverage growth through enhanced international trade, direct investment and better financial integration with China. 
China has made clear it wants to continue to deepen its relationship with the Caribbean. There is willingness on the part of most governments to harness its positive intent towards the region. What is still missing is any significant public debate about the new relationship, how it might develop, its implications for relations with Europe and North America and how best to ensure that it results in positive long-term benefit in the form of jobs, employment and growth.

(David Jessop is the Director of the Caribbean Council and can be contacted at
Previous columns can be found at www.


STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: It was a proud moment in the country's history as Antigua & Barbuda welcomed in a host of delegates to the long-awaited inaugural session of the OECS Regional Assembly. Pictured are heads of government from across the region who convened at Parliament last Friday in a bid to forge closer ties between the nine member states. 

St. John’s, Antigua – With the call of “I” from the dignitaries on the Parliament floor, the inaugural meeting of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Regional Assembly came to a close on Friday – solidifying the event into the history books of the sub-region.

Heads of government, dignitaries and spectators alike converged on the Parliament building to witness the pomp and ceremony that was the first sitting of the new Assembly.

The proceeding began with the Inspection of the Guard of Honour, where Chairman of the OECS Assembly Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, flanked by Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, inspected members of the Royal Police Force who were dressed in formal white tunic attire and then presided over the raising of the OECS flag.

As the first order of official business, the sub-region heads adopted the Selected Rules of Procedure that will govern the Assembly.

After much anticipation as to who would be the event’s Speaker, Rene Baptiste of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, was elected and Wilfred Gomes, of St. Kitts & Nevis, was named Deputy Speaker. Kurt Thomas, from St. Lucia, took the seat as Clerk.

In his address to the Assembly as host Prime Minister of the session, Spencer said that the body would not become a “talk shop” and vowed real strides would be made in the sub-region through decisions that they will collectively make.

He spoke to the need for continual co-operation between the nine member states, saying, “Nothing epitomises democracy more than a parliament. Here is a regional parliament of not one, but all of our sovereign nations of the Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean States; bound together to secure the regional good in a way that we would not have achieved individually.”

In his address, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Gonsalves, laid out the functions of the OECS Assembly as dictated in article 10 of the Revised Treaty establishing the OECS Economic Union.

Premier Reuben Meade, of Montserrat, made statements on behalf of the non-independent members and opposition leader from St. Kitts and Nevis, Mark Brantley, addressed delegates on behalf of OECS opposition leaders.

The much-anticipated event that serves as the jumping off point for the assembly’s remit to advance and strengthen the Economic Union – as set out in the Revised Treaty of Basseterre – will now begin the real work of regional integration according to OECS Commissioner, Ambassador Colin Murdoch.

“I think it went very well. I think today is a very proud day for the OECS,” the ambassador said. He added, “I think we are launching a new initiative, a new programme that will relate to people and will assist in good governance and implementing the OECS Economic Union Treaty.”

However, Murdoch said that this is just the first step in the sub-regional assembly’s work. “I think the next step is to make sure the assembly can stand up and walk… We need to get substantive legislation before the assembly, relating to all aspects of the OECS economic union and to get these issues debated and agreed upon.”

The meeting adjourned without a date to meet again, however, the ambassador said he believes a meeting will be held within the next two months, when “sufficient legislation” has been proposed to allow for a debate.

The meeting was adjourned to a wave of applause, as the Speaker was ushered out, fol-lowing behind the Ceremonial Mace that was crafted by Antiguan artisan, Renford Daley, especially for the occasion.

Monday, 13 August 2012

UDC hard at work

UDC hard at work

By Kerri Gooding

THIS year, as it celebrates 15 years of service, the Urban Development Commission (UDC) will use education, research and infrastructural initiatives to bring about change and make improvements in the 15 constituencies under its care.

Director at UDC Derek Alleyne told the Barbados Advocate, “Through the activities we want to raise public awareness and staff camaraderie as well.”

Alleyne said they also have high hopes for the activities which promote public interaction.

“Public response is expected to be warm and inviting. This is an opportunity to renew their requests and for us to respond.”

Yesterday, the UDC began the week of celebratory activities with a church service. Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister, Senator Darcy Boyce stated that the UDC was committed to commencing celebrations giving God thanks for all they had accomplished to date and praying for future guidance and achievements.

Throughout the week, with a series of activities, the employees of UDC will go out into the communities and seek to educate persons about the purpose of the UDC.

According to Boyce, many believe the UDC only works through improving infrastructure such as the construction of roads, homes and drains. He said that their minds go first and solely to these areas, but it should not stop there. He asserted that the work done by the UDC is done with a simple purpose – people. The objective is “to make the lives of people better.”

This evening there will be a lecture by Sir. Hilary Beckles at the Frank Collymore Hall, and UDC is appealing to members of the urban communities to attend.

On Tuesday the focus will be on ‘Greening Society’ when a clean-up will occur and there will be a tree-planting ceremony outside the UDC office. On Wednesday, through community outreach, UDC will enter various urban areas and interview people to get their issues and make plans going forward. On Thursday, at UDC headquarters there will be an open-day where the public can freely have their queries addressed; and Friday, the week concludes with a staff appreciation day.