The people of the Seventh District are being faced with increased financial hardships, which has resulted in the 2019 district allocation being used up mostly towards assisting those in need of financial assistance.
Hon. Natalio ‘Sowande Uhuru’ Wheatley, Minister for Education, Culture, Youth Affairs, Fisheries and Agriculture, and District 7 Representative, made this disclosure during a community meeting held at Church of God of Prophecy, on November 27.
He told residents that this has prompted him to move swiftly to address the issue of unemployment.
In a press release from his office, it was stated that, Wheatley spoke about the progress made in the district for the year including financial assistance allocated for those persons experiencing financial hardship. He made mention that this assistance took up a “significant portion” of the district’s budget allocation, so much so, that going forward the Minister has plans for an unemployment programme in 2020.
He acknowledged that the district faces multitude of issues, but that he is working feverishly to deal with them one by one. He asked attendees to have patience, and “not curse the darkness, but light a candle.”
Wheatley spoke to approximately 100 residents about health and sporting initiatives, upcoming road works, the Brandywine Bay development project, increased YEP funding, plans to establish a District Council, and the opening of a District Office in the building formerly known as Elite Superette.
Minister Wheatley highlighted his ongoing partnership with Minister for Health, Hon. Carvin Malone. Through the Ministry of Health’s Housing Recovery Programme, a few homes were approved for repair. Hon. Wheatley said that initially, much of the monies were earmarked for loans for some time, but that persons could not qualify for them.
To fix that issue, monies are now being allocated towards grants to undertake the necessary renovation work forward.
Dr Wheatley also highlighted the free transportation initiative for students of Districts 7, 8, and 9 attending the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College that has already started. The district representative partnered with Hon. Marlon Penn and Hon. Vincent Wheatley to help fund the initiative.
He also gave an overview of some actions being taken under his ministerial portfolio. Regarding agriculture, he spoke about discussions to further explore the economic benefits of medical marijuana and the revitalisation of the Agriculture Fair in 2021. In culture, Honourable Wheatley spoke about the commissioning of a mural on the wall of the Methodist Church, the Annual Festival of Culture and Praise first held in August, and the upcoming District 7 Christmas Party and Concert.