NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government will hire 40 residents from within inner-city communities to work as environmental monitors for the next 52-weeks, according Rocky Nesbitt, the project manager of the Over-the-Hill rejuvenation initiative.
Nesbitt made the revelation on Wednesday night at a town meeting in Grants Town to update residents on the Economic Empowerment Zone Act and plans to transform the designated zones.
Applicants must be between the ages of 18 and 45, and must live in either Bain and Grants Town or Centreville.
Nesbitt said applicants should have basic reading and numeracy skills, good communication and organizational skills, and must be team players with a “passion for developing Over-the-Hill”.
According to Nesbitt, successful applicants will partner with the Department of Environmental Health Services (DEHS) and health inspectors to identify and dispose of bulk waste, derelict vehicles and other environmental hazards.
“The program will be coordinated by the Department of Environmental Health [Services] and the Over-the-Hill Unit,” Nesbitt said.
“In circumstances that are deemed special, they will work along with Sergeant Miller with the [National] Neighborhood Watch [Council], and in the case of there being an emergency they will work along with NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency).”
Nesbitt noted that integrity in relation to the community is one of the most important job functions as well as “enhancing comradery, acting as liaison between central government agencies, and reporting ongoing environmental conditions and infractions.”
He expressed confidence about the initiative, saying that since January, the Over-the-Hill Unit has had four successful clean-up campaigns.
Around 200 people assisted with those efforts, which saw around 150 derelict cars and approximately 500 tons worth of waste removed from the Bain and Grants Town constituency and Centreville constituency, according to officials.
Eyewitness News understands approximately 10 people have already been confirmed and will start Monday.
The Over-the-Hill initiative is the brain child of Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, who first outlined his vision for the program in 2014.
Addressing attendees, Minnis said while he understands people wish to see change overnight his administration cannot achieve its vision for these communities in one year.
“It will take time, but one promise I can give you is that as long as I am here and this party is here, we will continue along that road to success, to make those changes,” Minnis said. “That commitment you can be assured of.”
The Economic Empowerment Zones Bill was passed in Parliament in July and came into effect this month.
It offers benefits for residents and businesses in the designated zone, including exemptions from real property tax; customs duties related to construction; excise taxes and stamp taxes imposed on real property.