Four hundred and fifty care packages were distributed to residents of Canterbury, Albion Lane, Williams Street and surrounding communities in Montego Bay, St. James, on July 21 by the St. James Municipal Corporation and United Nations (UN)-Habitat.
This is part of a US$100,000 coronavirus (COVID-19) response programme being undertaken by the Corporation.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis, led a team from the Corporation to the communities where the packages, face masks and hand sanitisers were handed out under phase one of the five-phase programme.
The residents were also engaged in COVID-19 sensitisation and education sessions as part of the initiative.
In an address to residents of Canterbury, Mayor Davis said he is pleased that the project is finally off the ground after four months of preparation.
“It took us some four months to reach to this stage. We can say it is a job well done. I must give my commendations to the team. It is a response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
“This project isn’t confined to care packages. There will be aspects of public education as to how you treat your environment, how you treat your community, and how we dispose of our garbage. A garbage receptacle will be built on the top of King Street where proper disposal of garbage can be done by the citizens,” Mayor Davis added.
The Mayor also urged the residents to remain vigilant, as the threat of COVID-19 is still a present danger to the parish of St. James.
“You are close to the city of Montego Bay where there is a lot of activity and you are more likely to be exposed. So, I encourage you to wear your mask, because COVID-19 is not something that you can see,” Mayor Davis said.
Meanwhile, residents of Canterbury had high praise for the COVID-19 response programme.
Roxanna Flowers told JIS News that she is grateful for the priority attention being given to the community as well as the most vulnerable.
“What the Municipal Corporation has done, we really appreciate it, because we don’t have much of this going on recently and many of the people, especially the elderly, need the care packages,” she said.
Consie Brown, 89 years old, expressed gratitude for the care package, noting that she was in dire need.
“I am really thankful for the bag, because I did really need it,” she told JIS News.
The distribution of care packages will take place every other week for the duration of the three-month programme.
The project, which is a component of UN-Habitat’s Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme (PSUP), has three elements.
They are the COVID-19 sensitisation and education, through the painting of murals, community consultation and engagement, and distribution of sanitisers, face masks and more; the second is clean-up and removal of bulky waste from these communities and the North Gully as well as sanitisation of public spaces; and the third element is distribution of care packages.