Integrated rural development approach to address problems
MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: Zavia Mayne CONSTITUENCY: St Ann South Western FIRST-TIME MEMBER of Parliament (MP) Zavia Mayne, in his maiden parliamentary speech, sought to weave a story of how some rural communities in Jamaica have been neglected for decades, stifling their development while encouraging persistent poverty.
“No baddy nuh memba we roun a dis yah side yah sah,” he quoted one of his St Ann South Western constituents as saying.
The lack of access to potable water and capital, competition for lands by miners and farmers, nonfarming opportunities, limited education and government investment, he said, have locked the constituency into “intergenerational poverty and underdevelopment”.
According to Mayne, the approach to address the problems is through an ‘integrated rural development approach’ put forward by the International Fund for Agricultural Development. That would take in the participation of stakeholders in improving human and physical assets, access to credit, and an increase in the knowledge base, among other things.
The trained lawyer outlined a seven-point plan he said is aimed at helping to bring about change.
That plan includes the establishment of an education council of stakeholders to coordinate allocation of resources, an agricultural research station and steps towards a housing scheme. He said a lobby has been launched for an accident and emergency department at the Alexandria Community Hospital, while programmes are being pursued to deal with gender-base violence.
“We cannot solve the development challenges of Jamaica without full inclusion of rural development. Crime, overcrowding, urban unemployment are all worsened by poverty in rural areas,” he said. “A sustainable, integrated course of action will see us reducing income inequality, improve living conditions and foster self-actualisation. We must have no more forgotten corners of Jamaica.”