The Portmore Municipal Council again welcomed its partners from the City of Hagen in Germany during the week of August 24-28, 2015. This was the first visit for Mrs. Maugaritte Kaufmann, Deputy Mayor of Environmental Affairs, Recreation and Sports but the third for Dr. Ralph- Rainer Braun, Head of the Environment Department and Mr. Hans-Joachim Wittkowski Environmental Planner. The purpose of the visit was to have further discussions on various projects such as the school partnership between Portmore Community College and Theodore-Heuss Gymnasium and to visit the Heart College of Construction Services where solar panels were installed.
The highlight of the week however, was a ceremonial groundbreaking at the Climate Change Park. The Germans have committed funding to the project to a tune of J$33 million or 249,900 euros and the Jamaican Government has given commitment to funding the balance. The ceremony was followed by the unveiling of two Climate Change awareness signs and tree planting along Municipal Boulevard.
There are a number of possibilities for formulating and implementing projects at the Municipal level. Among them being an intensive public awareness campaign (working with schools and community groups). The team paid courtesy calls to the Honourable Minister Noel Arscot, Minister of Local Government and Community Development and the Honourable Robert Pickersgill, Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change.
Both the Deputy Mayor and the Mayor of Hagen have written to the Acting Mayor, Leon Thomas expressing their thanks for the well executed programme of activities. The Secretary of State from the Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development has stated that the partnership represents “an excellent pilot project on municipal level and an example for acting instead of talking”.