JIS News

A contract valued at approximately $24 million was today (September 15) signed for repair and upgrading works at the Melrose Primary and Junior High school in Kencot, St. Andrew.
The project, which is being funded under the European Union’s (EU) Poverty Reduction Programme II (PRP II) and facilitated by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), will include the repair of a section of roof damaged by hurricane and tropical storms, construction of a new changing room for the sports department, as well as the erection of a perimeter fence to improve security.
The EU has provided some $18 million to carry out the works, while the school board and community have contributed the remaining $6 million in cash and kind. The community’s portion includes land, storage for materials and equipment, as well as security and maintenance training.
Custos of St. Andrew, Hon. Marigold Harding, who addressed the contract signing ceremony held at the school, told community members that they have a responsibility to ensure that the project was successfully completed and urged them to take care of the facilities provided.
She said the Melrose Primary School had a critical role to play in the transformation and development of the people of the area and eventually elevating the community back to “its pristine glory.”
“We rely on our community members, we rely on our parents, we rely more so on our teachers, (as) education can improve the social and economic status of the school, as well as the cultural status, if we take it seriously,” Mrs. Harding stated.
Principal of the school, Jennifer Lee, expressed gratitude for the work to be done. She noted that the damage to the section of roof on the skills block, which houses the music room, home economics room, canteen, lunchroom and tuck shop, has caused frequent suspension of classes during the rainy season and has resulted in damage to equipment, teaching aids and classroom furniture.
She pointed out that the erection of the perimeter fence will improve security at the institution, while the changing room will not only benefit the students, but church and community groups that will use the facility, when they participate in sporting activities on the school grounds.
Managing Director of the JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, projected that the repair works should be completed in about four months and is being undertaken by contractor, Lewin’s Hardware.
She informed that under the PRP II, JSIF has completed and handed over the Marverley Primary and Junior High School and signed contracts for the construction of the Endtime Basic School.
An investment of approximately $150.5 million has also been made for the completion of several projects, including the March Pen Community Centre upgrade and multi-purpose court; expansion and rehabilitation of the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School; and construction of the Effortville Basic School.
Head of delegation of the EU in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Mazocchi Alemanni said he was pleased to see the impact that the PRP II has been having on communities.
“While the project is not specifically geared towards schools, more than 60 per cent of the 26 projects approved are school projects,” he noted. “This is due to our belief that a strong education is the foundation of the development for any community and by extension, the society. However, educational gain can only be made in the right environment and with proper infrastructure,” he stated.
The EU funded PRP II was developed to address the needs of volatile and vulnerable communities and is being financed at a cost of $1.2 billion. The EU recently approved another $250 million to expand and extend the programme.
“We are also preparing PRP III, which is also going to be about $1 billion and is going to have a very important component of about $300 million, which is going to be implemented by non-state actors, such as churches and non-governmental organisations,” Ambassador Alemanni informed.
He further noted that PRP III will also focus on a number of job creation projects in inner city communities, as well as sanitation projects.

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