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A sum of $300 million has been budgeted to continue implementation of the Improvement of the Emergency Communication System in Jamaica Project in fiscal year 2022/23.
Details are outlined in the 2022/23 Estimates of Expenditure, tabled recently in the House of Representatives by Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr. the Hon. Nigel Clarke.
The project, being spearheaded by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), aims to develop a national emergency communication system to coordinate incident response among key agencies of government and volunteers.
For the upcoming fiscal year, the budgeted allocation will fund the construction of a maintenance centre at ODPEM and five repeater huts in Sligoville, St. Catherine; Cabbage Hill, and Winchester, St. Thomas; Mount Airy, Westmoreland; and Shotover, Portland.
The provision will also be used to build solar racks at Portland Cottage in Clarendon and siren towers/masts in 15 locations across three communities – Port Maria, St. Mary, and Bog Walk and Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine.
Work to commence the installation of telecommunications equipment is also slated to get under way.
Achievements up to December 2021 include completion of the National Works Agency’s backbone design for Disaster Emergency Communication, and re-survey of 30 repeater and siren sites to determine the structural integrity of the towers.
ODPEM’s Network Operation Centre has also been retrofitted while nine repeater sites have been rehabilitated.
The project is being financed by the Government of Jamaica and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).