Constituency Empowerment Department to facilitate dialogue

Hon Timothy Harris

ZIZ News…March 31, 2010 – During the recently concluded 2010 Budget Debate, citizens and residents learnt of the purpose and role of the Constituency Empowerment Department, which will be established as an arm of the Ministry of Agriculture, Marine Resources and Constituency Empowerment.

These were revealed by Senior Minister in the Federal Government, and Minister of Constituency Empowerment, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, when he addressed Parliament at the National Assembly on Thursday, 25 March 2010.

Dr Harris told the Assembly, residents and citizens in the diaspora, that the Constituency Empowerment Department is a new creature in our governance, which will evolve over time. “Hopefully”, he said, “the Constituency Empowerment Secretariat shall provide a structure for sustained dialogue between the government and the electorate.”

In continuing his presentation to the law making body, the Senior Minister added that the Department “will establish empowerment zones based on local geopolitical areas. In this regard, we shall, in due course, be meeting with Parliamentary Representatives to get their inputs regarding the functioning of the Secretariat, and how we can structure this entity for more meaningful impact and efficacious results.”

Senior Minister Harris, who is the parliamentary representative for Constituency 7, comprising the area from Belle Vue to Ottleys, announced that the purpose and role of the Constituency Empowerment Department will be:

“To build and sustain a cadre of civic leaders; to encourage public confidence in the political process; to establish channels of communication with the electorate; to re-ignite and sustain the spirit of community organizing; to encourage constituency participation in political decision making; and, to recommend empowerment initiatives based on constituency needs.”

The first holder of this ultra modern portfolio in St Kitts and Nevis, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, intends to have the Secretariat of the Constituency Empowerment Department work closely with the Community Affairs Department, other governmental agencies and community organisations.

Against this backdrop, the Constituency Empowerment Department will seek to harness and enhance the efforts being carried out by these entities, with the aspiration to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of each constituency, through the contribution of all stakeholders, regardless of political persuasion.

Already, this proposed program, as laid out by Dr Harris, has begun to receive positive feedback from the general public.

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