USONA, Commissioner H. Richardson sign district program


GREAT BAY (GIS)—On April 7, Commissioner Hyacinth Richardson signed the Usona agreement with the Director Reginald Doran in the present of the Dutch Representative to begin the Integrated Neighborhood Development Program. The first 3 districts where the program will begin are St. Peters, Cole Bay, and Dutch Quarter.


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Commissioner Richardson gave a short speech at the event.

"We are all gathered here today to acknowledge and celebrate the realization of the First Integrated Neighborhood Development Program.

"We are all gathered here today to acknowledge and celebrate the realization of the First Integrated Neighborhood Development Program.


The development program was approved by the Executive Council on October 6th 2009 for the amount of guilders to be funded by USONA. The program has been designed to address the social dilemmas that are challenging the youth and adults within three of most densely populated districts on the island.


The program which is a social initiative program will commence in two phases, each geared towards attaining the end goal of strengthening the community as a whole by addressing some of the most crucial disadvantages faced by the people that live therein.


This process will be accomplished through the execution of four important steps. The first phase to further establish this program is the pilot phase, which will last approximately one year. During this initial phase the most critical social plights being faced by these three neighborhoods will be identified in order to improve the quality of life.

The second phase will be a helpdesk in order to gather data to address and assist the social ills that surround and affect the community. To ensure that adequate data is obtained trained professionals and district workers will be appointed by the Island Government to seek out and document the number of injustices and disabilities.


Following this second step is the District and Needs Assessment step which is the point at which a tracking system that is able to successfully handle the exchange of information between various organizations, for example schools, NGO’s, the prosecutor’s office and others will be identified and established.


This system, be it a computerized one coupled with a network of professionals in the social development arena will ensure the smooth and confidential transmission of information. This information, pertinent as it is, will be used to ensure the community is given the necessary assistance required, ranging from multi-disciplinary teams to 24 hour Crisis Management Services.


With all parties on board working together to accomplish what is best for our people the necessary services will be open for the community members of each of these three districts, thus enhancing the strength of the Integrated Neighborhood Development Program per district in order to build and maintain a more socially developed populace.


I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for being here today as we move forward in order to further establish Country St. Maarten."

The Integrated Neighborhood Development Program (INDP) began with the hard work and input of Bernadette Barry, Aida Boyrard, Richelda Emmanuel, and Joy Arnell, according to Jorien Wuite.


It is an important human and social capital development project, rooted in the island government program of developing a compassionate society. It is a program that will last many years and that will be meaningful to the community, Wuite said.


The program addresses social issues and data collections. It also combines 2 projects, namely: Integrated Neighborhood program and Strengthening of Community Help Desks. The project is financed by USONA, the Dutch funding Agency and SEI, the Socio-Economic Initiative. The total cost is Naf. 1.250.000,00 million(1 million two hundred and fifty thousand).


The Policy goals are to: 1) Heighten the quality of life of low-income communities and 2) Ensure reliable and consistent information for improving policy and decision making.


This Integrated Program is in conjunction and/or related to other SEI projects, namely: Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS/CPS), Health Information System, Macro-economic Model, Revision of the ‘woonvisie’, Increase supply of affordable Housing, and improve the quality of life of low-income communities.

First there will be a district and needs assessment carried out. The assessment report will indicate the quality of life of the various target groups living in the 3 districts as well the priorities of the population of 3 districts. In addition, an assessment and a needs report of the social agencies will be carried out.


Agencies will be strengthened based on the receipt of financial, material or personnel assistance. In addition, an assessment and a report of the needs regarding the types of housing needed and the recommended rent, personnel of Community Help Desk (CHD) will have been trained in the use of the accumulated data.


A Community Help Desk will be established with the goal to function as a central location within the districts where persons seeking assistance for social problems can go. The function of the Community Help Desk is to provide services in the area of social work and community development.


The targeted groups are among others: youth, migrants, homeless, unemployed, drug addicts, mental & physical impaired, ex-psychiatric patients and former incarcerated.


The problem areas can be domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, legal aspects related to alimony, labor disputes, getting a job, and school drop-outs.


Several Community Councils, Community Centers, Agencies and Stakeholders were present for the signing agreement ceremony at the Rupert Maynard Youth Community Center.