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Cabinet has received an update from Minister of Local Government and Environment, Dean Peart, on the fire at the Riverton landfill, and has instructed the Minister, “to continue to take all the necessary actions in order to bring a total cessation to the existing situation there”.
Information and Development Minister, Donald Buchanan, who made the announcement at yesterday’s (Jan. 8) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that Cabinet was satisfied with the report from Minister Peart.
The fire, which started late December, is under control and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) is working to clear the smoke nuisance, which is affecting residents of communities close to the dump.
Giving an update on the National Beautification Programme, which was announced by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller last year, Minister Buchanan informed that $20 million has been allocated to the initiative from the Tourism Enhancement Fund. “There are further dialogue and project development exchanges, which are taking place .in terms of further support for the beautification programme from that fund,” he said.
He told journalists that by next week, Mr. Peart, who chairs the steering committee in charge of the programme, “will be able to give a more comprehensive update as to the way forward with this particular programme”.
On another matter, the Information Minister said that the number of persons being diagnosed with malaria was on the decline.
“It is pleasing to be able to indicate that in the week, which ended on the 6th of January, there was only one new case of malaria being reported. This is against the background of the malaria outbreak peaking during the week, which ended on the 16th of December of last year, at a high of 43 cases. This is a clear indication that the back of the malaria outbreak has been broken and the matter is now basically fully under control,” he told journalists.
He said that the government committed $189.6 million to fight the outbreak, with US$200,000 in support from the United States Agency for International Development and $8 million from the National Health Fund, in addition to assistance from the United Nations Children Fund and the United Nation Population Fund.
The government of Cuba provided assistance in the form of technical expertise and “those acts of assistance and generosity is acknowledged by the government,” said Mr. Buchanan.
Cabinet, on Monday, also approved the appointment of Patrick Hylton, group managing director for National Commercial Bank, as chairman for Harmonization Limited, the company with responsibility for the Harmony Cove development project.
Harmony Cove is conceptualized as a 1,400-acre development for the northern coast of Jamaica, featuring estate villas, elegant homes, resort accommodations and boutique hotels.