SECTION A: POLICIES DEVELOPED
National Policy on Sustainable Community Development
Work on the National Policy for Sustainable Community Development (NPSCD) commenced in September 2016 with the establishment of an Internal Committee to drive the process, followed by the conduct of primary and secondary research to inform understanding of the current state of the sector. In-depth conversations and focus group discussions were held with key public sector official, representatives of CBOs and NGOs and staff of the Community Development Division. A draft discussion paper was prepared and used as the focus of the Community Development Partnership Forum III between July-August 2017, allowing CBOs and other community sector stakeholders to shape the Policy. The Ministry continued to engage with various stakeholders in 2017 and 2018 towards an understanding of the most effective institutional arrangements to be employed in the holistic and multi-sectoral approach to development that it was clear, was necessary for sustainable community development. These stakeholders included the Community Development staff, the corporate sector, key public sector Ministries, the CBO and NGO communities, the academic community and the Tobago House of Assembly. The THA gave their full commitment to the Policy formulation process, ensuring that the NPSCD was truly national in scope.
In November 2018, the draft NPSCD was laid in Parliament as a Green Paper and stakeholders were given a further opportunity to comment on the document either through online opportunities or direct invitation. In January 2019, one of the outcomes of the dialogue with academia was realized and the Professional Certificate in Sustainable Community Development was successfully launched by the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, in collaboration with the then Ministry of Community Development, Culture and the Arts. This programme was designed as part of the change management related to NPSCD implementation. It was intended to ensure that all practitioners were well prepared for their strengthened roles in sustainable community development and that there was a standardized philosophy and mechanisms to successfully pursue sustainable communities. The draft NPSCD was approved by Cabinet as a White Paper and in November 2019 the NPSCD was laid in Parliament as the Government’s official policy position on community development.
Policy implementation has commenced. Efforts are underway to establish the Multi-sectoral Committees that would guide policy implementation. namely the National Committee on Sustainable Community Development; the Municipal Committee on Sustainable Community Development; and the Community Development Committee on Sustainable Community Development. Together these communities will ensure resource availability and inter-agency coordination at the relevant levels. The NPSCD will be piloted in every Municipality of Trinidad and Tobago, commencing with Siparia, Chaguanas and Diego Martin in Trinidad and in west Tobago. In January 2020, the first sensitization meeting was held in La Brea in the Municipality of Siparia as part of the effort to commence the pilot there.
The NPSCD is the first of its kind in the history of Trinidad and Tobago. It is a comprehensive treatment of the issues and strategies relevant to transforming communities in TT and in particular treating with key scourges that plague the nation which significantly emanate from marginal communities. Targeting the root causes of community dysfunction in a holistic and participatory manner, the NPSCD will contribute to addressing issues such as delinquency, crime and gang activities, disorganized families, underachievement, attitudes of hopelessness and dependency, unemployment and underemployment among others.
The NPSCD provides the framework and institutional arrangements for a clearly defined, consistent and collaborative approach to sustainable community development through:
- adopting a more integrated, multi-sectoral approach;
- developing a strategy for engagement of the corporate sector in a structured manner;
- facilitating the development of clear visions and targets for each community;
- strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Sport and Community Development as the lead agency in the process of sustainable community development; and,
- facilitating opportunities for the professional development of the sector to entrench and sustain this development strategy.
Interim Use Policy and Guidelines for Forty (40) Community Centres in Trinidad
The interim arrangements provide for the optimum use of the modernized community centres; the quality and timely physical maintenance of the facilities, effective and transparent administrative mechanisms, and the accountability of the revenues generated. It will also ensure community involvement and ownership through the establishment of representative, multi-disciplinary committee of residents with clear interest in community development. Accordingly, managerial and administrative staff have been installed at these centres in a Community Facilities Coordinator and a Business Operations Assistant I respectively. Advisory Boards of Management, comprised mainly of community representatives to provide guidance and oversight and ensure community engagement.
Interim Policy and Guidelines for Management of Regional Complexes in Trinidad
The Interim Policy and Guidelines for the Management of Regional Complexes was finalized in 2017 through the work of an intra-Ministerial Committee of the then MCDCA. It seeks to improve the efficiency, consistency, accountability and transparency of the Complex and in particular ensure that the Complexes are optimally used for the benefit of the communities they serve. In 2018, the Human Resources Management Division led the process of the revision of qualification requirements for the staff of Regional Complexes. This was to ensure that the Complexes were managed by appropriately qualified staff for full functionality. The staff are responsible for; the daily operational arrangements; financial management, physical maintenance and rental procedures at the facilities and are guided by a Board of Management.
Regional Complexes are to be utilized for:
- the implementation of programmes geared towards the enhancement of the quality of life of consumers of these facilities and various organizations
- the growth and development of local leadership, and local organizations
- the encouragement of volunteerism within the nation
- the engagement of all users with various skills, resources and networks, in giving of their time, talents and resources for the well-being of the nation
- the engagement of public and private organizations in collaborative planning and action for the benefit of the residing community and nation, and
- the encouragement of community cohesion building, recreation, cultural events, functions and social gatherings.
Handbook for the Management of the Carenage Homework Centre
The Ministry worked with the Community Improvement and Empowerment League (CIEL) and the Carenage Police Youth Club to develop a Handbook for the Management of the Youth Club and Homework Center. The facility will facilitate activities of the Police Youth Club and Homework Centre. However, it is also dedicated to community development through volunteerism and as such has adopted the philosophy of “Each one teach one,” placing a strong focus on homework support, practical-skills and life-skills development through the volunteerism approach. “Each one teach one” is a form of support whereby individuals who are fortunate to have been educated, trained or experienced in specified fields, in turn seek to teach, coach, mentor or otherwise support persons who are in need. The facility consists of four (4) buildings that include a resource library; a study hall/multimedia room; a children’s reading and learning centre; washroom facilities; an office for staff; and storage. It is staffed with an Administrator and overseen by the management of the Carenage Policy Youth Club, on behalf of and with the support of the MSCD.
SECTION B: POLICIES BEING REVISED
Implementation Policy Guidelines for the Administration of Grants in the Ministry of Sport and Community Development.
Draft Policy and Guidelines for the Administration of Grants at the MSCD are currently being re-fashioned in the context of the recent merger of Sport with Community Development. The MSCD will be responsible for the Community Action for Revival and Empowerment – (CARE) Grant, targeted to groups and organisations which deliver any kind of service in the context of community development. Additionally, it will manage grant funding windows pertinent to sport development and total participation in sport. In this regard, grant funding will be accessible by National Government Bodies, Sport Serving Bodies, elite athletes and other individuals.
The Interim Policy Guidelines for the Administration of Grants at the then MCDCA was first implemented in April 2016 has been reviewed and will be submitted to Cabinet in first quarter Fiscal 2021. The Policy pursues measures to ensure the efficient, effective and transparent management of the funds and to encourage more innovative, and transformative interventions in communities.
The 2009 Policy Guidelines on the Disbursement of Grant Funds in support of Youth and Sport Development Activities is currently being repurposed to address the sport component only and for incorporation into the grants management apparatus of the new MSCD. This too will be completed in the first quarter Fiscal 2021.
The Community and Sporting Facilities Management Policies
Several policies and arrangements continue to exist relevant to the management of the different types of community and sporting facilities in Trinidad. Types of community facilities include Regional Complexes, Civic Centres, Community Centres, Homework Centres and Activity Centres. In the context of sport facilities, the Ministry, as distinct from the Sport Company, is directly responsible for a number of sporting facilities that range from recreational to International. These facilities fall into two categories including Indoor Sporting Arenas; and Community Swimming Pools. The country’s stadia and international sport centres are under the purview of the Sport Company of Trinidad and Tobago. The policy arrangements will seek to ensure the: optimum use of all of these facilities; quality and timely physical maintenance of the facilities; effective and transparent administrative mechanisms; and, accountability for the revenues generated. These Policies should be completed in by the second quarter of Fiscal 2021.
SECTION C: NEW POLICIES BEING DEVELOPED
Community Economic Development through the Designating and Developing Cultural Heritage Spaces in Trinidad and Tobago
The issue of heritage spaces has for some time received international attention led by the UNESCO. The genesis of this programme lies in the Community Development Partnership Forum IV (CDPF IV) held as part of the CARIFESTA XIV Symposium ‘Journey Round Myself’ in 2019. A presentation on Princes Town at one (1) of the five (5) CDPF IV sessions focused on community tourism, showcased its abundance of significant history, its potential for sustainable livelihoods and community revitalization and economic diversification. This birthed the idea of and high-lighted the potential for designating cultural and heritage spaces throughout Trinidad and Tobago as an avenue for economic development. Designating such spaces is also with a view to harnessing their rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage for nation building, appreciation of diversity, public education, heritage preservation. The Policy is being developed by an Inter-Ministerial Committee including a Heritage Expert and anticipated delivery of the first draft in first quarter Fiscal 2021.
The National Handicraft Sector Policy for Trinidad and Tobago
Birthed out the Community Development Partnership Programme IV (CDPF IV) in 2019, the development of the National Handicraft Sector Policy for Trinidad and Tobago is one of the many initiatives currently undertaken by the Ministry of Sport and Community Development. Work on the Handicraft Sector Policy will commence in the first quarter Fiscal 2021 and will map out a pathway for the growth and the development of the sector, addressing the core concerns of artisans and the vision for the sector.
The Handicraft Sector Policy will seek, inter alia, to address the following key issues and concerns within the Handicraft Sector:
- Economic instability and sustainability
- Need for training and development
- Lack of youth involvement
- Lack of networking among artisans leading to many challenges including mass production and a lack of value added
- Deficient sales platforms for creatives
- Quality, standards and compliance for the local and international markets
- Pricing and market penetration
- Effective business modeling for sustainability
In addition, the National Handicraft Sector Policy, will utilize the best evidence and international best practice, guided by the interest of stakeholders in the sector to determine the potential of the sector for:
- Growth and development
- Improved livelihoods for artisans
- Types of handicraft should receive priority attention and investment
- Necessary business models to stimulate growth in the sector
- Foreign markets should Trinidad and Tobago’s artisans seek to penetrate
- Products may Trinidad and Tobago have a competitive advantage
- Local demand for arts and craft
- Indigenous craft should be the focus of investment
- Attracting new demographics to the sector in pursuit of sustainability
- An appropriate governance model for the handicraft sector in Trinidad and Tobago
- Financing avenues (state, private, partnerships) should be explored.