EU Supports Major Improvements in St. James Banana Areas


Over 400 residents of Kensington, St. James, and surrounding districts, are to benefit from major renovation and improvement work on the Kensington Community Centre and Basic School, under the Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support project for Jamaica’s traditional banana growing areas.
The project is being funded by the European Union’s (EU) Special Framework of Assistance project, through its EU Banana Support Programme (EUBSP). It was completed at a cost of approximately $9.8 million, and was done in collaboration with the St. James Parish Council, with the European Union (EU) providing 60 per cent of the cost and the St James Parish Council providing the other 40 per cent.
The Kensington Community Centre and Basic School is one of two projects being implemented in St. James under the EUBSP. The other is the rehabilitation of approximately 1.6 kilometres of roadway in Industry, Somerton Division, at a cost of
$9.34 million. The cost was similarly shared 60/40 between the EU and the St. James Parish Council, respectively.
Addressing the opening ceremony for the Community Centre and Basic School, on Wednesday (April 28), Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Robert Montague, described the programme as a very unique one.
He explained that it is spread over six traditional banana growing parishes namely: St. James, Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary.
He said that each parish will be asked to submit projects for an additional $4.5 million, to be implemented before it ends by June 2010.
It has opened a lot of doors for Jamaicans, Mr. Montague said. He also lauded its implementation through collaboration between the EU and the Parish Councils, noting that it is the first time that the Councils are coming together as a unit to make an application for any grant funding from the EU.
“It has impacted on a lot of communities. It has also enhanced the skills of the Parish Councils to do project implementation. It has fostered better relationships with the Parish Councils and the communities, and has also enhanced the Parish Council’s image in the communities,” he stated.
He said that the consultations done by the Parish Councils, before the implementation of projects, has enhanced community participation and involvement in the process.
Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St. James Parish Council, Councillor Charles Sinclair, expressed appreciation for the financial support for the programme from the EU, through its Banana Support Programme.

JIS Social