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Nation Builders is rolled out

Orlando Romain – considered as a key player around the Dickon Mitchell-led Congress government

Grenada’s nine-month old administration of Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has rolled out a new programme called “Nation Builders” to improve the life of persons at the community level by giving them access to running water and sanitation at their homes.

Advisor to the Ministry of Planning, and Economic Development with responsibility for ICT and the Creative Economy, Orlando Romain gave details of the initiative last Wednesday night at a Town Hall meeting held at the Westerhall Secondary School in St David.

Romain said that a pilot project called Water Access and Sanitation in Homes (WASH) which is the brainchild of PM Dickon Mitchell has been identified to start Nation Builders in the small village of Belleisle where 23 homes are in need of running water and inside toilets.

“We believe that access to water and sanitation is a basic human right,” he told the gathering that included government ministers and senior public offices.

According to Romain, one will be surprised “to know of the amount of households in Grenada that do not have access to proper running water and sanitation facilities and so we want to ensure that we alleviate that problem.”

“We are not going to do it by ourselves. We are reaching out to you the citizens to collaborate with us to achieve that goal through Nation Builders,” he said.

Romain announced that the WASH initiative has already received a commitment from a local business firm to provide 200 toilets and face basins to start the project in Belleisle with the 23 homes that have already been identified.

“We now need the support of the private sector, our citizens to acquire a few more things – installation material such as PVC pipes, cement and other plumbing devices like plumbing material.”

“We need to tap into the expertise of our plumbers to volunteer their time and services to install these toilets and face basins in the homes.”

“We would also need cash contributions for the installation of these water access and sanitation devices from NAWASA.”

Romain announced that a website for the new programme will be launched “in the coming days where you can see how you can get involved in these programmes by signing up and becoming a “Nation Builder.”

He said that “Nation Builders” seeks to give access to running water and basic sanitation for all households in Grenada by 2027 and is just one of several initiatives that will be rolled out by the government in various communities in the coming months.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell also addressed the WASH initiative and identified the firm of L.L Ramdhanny & Company as the local private sector company that was approached to assist with supplying the toilet sets for the villagers in Belleisle at cost price.

He said he expects the toilets and face basins to arrive on the island by the end of March.

The Grenadian leader indicated that the intention of the WASH programme “is to say to these 23 households we are prepared to help you get basic water and sanitation but you have to be prepared to help yourself and to help your community.”

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‘So for each of those households that have abled bodied men and women we expect that you will supply your able body and agree that when we start with your house you have to agree to start with the second house, third house, fourth, fifth, and sixth house until we get to the 23 homes,” he said.

“We ain’t leaving Belleisle until all of the persons who need access to basic water and sanitation have received it,” he added.

The Prime Minister stressed that the WASH programme will then move into four small villages in his St David constituency – Berrotte, Old Westerhall, Morne Delice and Vincennes.

He urged persons with skills and those who can lend a helping hand to come forward to assist in the effort to provide running water and sanitation to these villages that are in need of help as part of the Nation Builders programme.

Romain also told the gathering at the Town Hall meeting that the hope of the Congress administration is to attract Grenadians living in the Diaspora to recommit to assisting in nation building.

He said the NDC realised after its victory at the polls on June 23, 2022 that the energy level of the people “were extremely high and they wanted to do things to push nation building” and they were “eager to get involved in nation building and to play their part in the process.”

However, he said that many people can become frustrated by the bureaucracy within the present government structure and that it can frustrate and discourage them from doing so.

“We recognised that and we have designed (this) programme that seeks to alleviate those barriers,” he remarked.

According to Romain, the Nation Builders programme also seeks to connect citizens, private sector, and the government “in a seamless way to engage in community-based activities.”

This, he said, is the entity that will facilitate the process of persons wanting to do things in the national interest and to ensure that projects from persons “are heard, recognised and that we channel it to the right ministry or agency for fast implementation.”

In addition, he said that Nation Builders will also seek to collaborate with the private sector to pool resources to ensure the effective implementation of the projects.

Romain indicated that the hope is that Nation Builders will address the situation of duplication of efforts as some people are known to be doing things and no one knows about it and other persons soon come along and do the same thing over and over.

The Congress government is planning to have an annual campaign to recognise persons who contribute to the process of nation building and those who go beyond and above the call of duty as part of the Nation Builders initiative.

Nation Builders will be a Division under the Ministry of Mobilisation, Implementation and Transformation that is headed by Member of Parliament for South St George, Andy Williams.

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