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Head of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Jamaica, Ambassador Marco Alemanni, says EU grant funding support to Jamaica could reach US$100 million by the end of the year.
Speaking at a contract signing ceremony for the $21 million Windward Road Primary and Junior High School upgrading project, at the school on Wednesday (November 17), Ambassador Alemanni said that funding support from the EU so far this year included J$2.3 billion to finance joint programmes to address the country’s debt and crime.
Cheques for this sum were handed over to the ministries of finance and the public service, national security and justice, last week.
Noting that the EU is “by far” the largest international (grant donor) partner for Jamaica, Ambassador Alemanni stated that, within the last few years, it has allocated some $1.7 billion for inner city community projects.
Funding support has also been forthcoming for several projects, inclusive of work done on community centres, roads and police stations, of which five are shortlisted for refurbishment. He disclosed that several water and sanitation projects have also been identified for support.
Ambassador Alemanni also stated that, at the request of the Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, an additional $1 billion will be added to the $1.7 billion already provided.
“In total, this year, we think that we are going to reach almost US$100 million in grants to the budget of Jamaica,” he assured.
The Windward Road Primary and Junior High upgrading project, financed jointly through grant funding from the EU and stakeholders in the Rockfort community, will entail the construction of three classrooms and repairs to the roof of an adjoining block.
It is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and is being undertaken by the firm, Alcar Construction and Haulage Company Limited. The work is scheduled for completion within four months, and is being carried out under Phase II of the EU’s Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP II).
Board member of JSIF, Prudence Kidd-Deans thanked the EU for their continued efforts to rehabilitate schools and provide infrastructure work in several challenged communities.
She listed other schools which are scheduled to benefit under the initiative as: Albion Basic School, Montego Bay; Melrose Primary and Junior High School, Endtime Basic School and Constant Spring All Age School, in the Corporate Area. She said that, to date, JSIF has completed work on 16 schools at a cost of $82.6 million.
Other projects being undertaken include the recently implemented Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI), which aims to improve the earning potential of stakeholders involved in agriculture and tourism related businesses.
She stated Grants of Low Amounts (GOLA) projects have also been implemented in the community of Rockfort and its environs. These ventures entail collaboration among community members and stakeholders in establishing food gardens.