JIS News

The Parish Infrastructure Development Programme (PIDP) has been allotted $60 million in the 2004/05 Estimates of Expenditure now before the House of Representatives.
The scheme aims to effect changes in the legal and institutional framework that will strengthen local government and the financial viability and institutional capacity of the parishes to carry out their responsibilities and the capacity of the Ministry to support and promote local authorities. It seeks to further encourage community participation in local decision-making and finance the rehabilitation of basic priority infrastructure in parishes thereby fostering their economic development.
The provisions will be used to finance the rehabilitation of markets, parish council roads and buildings, transportation centres, minor water supply systems and drainage vehicles and equipment.
In the move to engender community development, funds will also be used to back the formation of the Parish Development Committees, which will provide a focal point for the emergence of development strategies (economic, social and physical) at the parish level.
In addition, efforts will be made to identify and develop viable economic projects at the community level.
Meanwhile under the Property Revaluation Project, 685 parcels of property was revalued by the National Land Agency (NLA) while Property Tax Assessment notices were dispatched to landowners and a public communication programme undertaken to inform the public of the new tax system.
With regard to legal and institutional reform, 28 priority laws were identified for amendment, five of which have been revised, namely the: Pound Act, the Keeping of Animals Act, the Municipalities Act (Portmore), the National Solid Waste Management Act (regulations) the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation regulations regarding the sale of goods in public places. Three of the laws are being revised and are expected to be completed in the 2004/05 fiscal year.
Further developments saw 400 computers installed at the Local Authorities and the KSAC and a wireless local area network connecting computers, printers, servers and other accessories within each Local Authority completed.
A Geographic Information System was also procured to facilitate the physical planning and development of infrastructure such as roads, bridges and drains.Four hundred persons from the Ministry and Local Authorities also completed computer-training courses. Meanwhile, “Platinum” accounting software was installed at the Manchester Parish Council.
Furthermore, approximately 137.5 kilometres of parochial roads were rehabilitated in all parishes and work is continuing on another 16.8 kilometres of roads. In the meantime, refurbishing work on KSAC and the St. James Parish Council buildings is completed while work on the Manchester Parish Council building is ongoing, 60 per cent of which is complete.
For the 2004/05 period the anticipated physical targets include: completion of at least nine priority laws for enactment and completion of an additional 13 laws and the review of some six laws by the legal and institutional reform steering committee. Parish capacities are slated for strengthening and a consultant firm is to be hired to review current municipal taxation and other potential income sources. Also efforts continue at revenue enhancement targeted at property tax and other sources.
The second phase of rehabilitation work for approximately eight kilometres each of parochial roads in Portland, St. Andrew, St. Mary and St. Thomas is also anticipated for completion.
Meanwhile, the refurbishing of the Brown’s Town Market is to be completed and construction activities are to begin on the Spanish Town Market.
Furthermore, construction is to start on the Trelawny Parish Council Building and the design of the St. Ann and Hanover Parish Council buildings with new furnishing to be provided for the KSAC, St. James and Hanover offices.
The bidding process for Clarendon and St. Elizabeth entombed springs is expected to begin and chlorination filters put in place for various rainwater and catchment tanks islandwide. Fourteen dump trucks and 14 vibratory rollers for the maintenance of parochial roads in various parishes including Portmore are to be bought.

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