Work on the construction of the St. Catherine Youth Information Centre (YIC), to be located in Spanish Town, is expected to get underway next month.
Phase one of the facility, which will be housed at the old Spanish Town police station, is estimated to cost $60 million and should be completed within 12 months. It is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and Government of Jamaica.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Hon. Olivia Grange, addressing a public forum at the project site yesterday (Nov. 23), said the aim is to create a multipurpose complex that will provide training and information services to benefit the youth, and will also be a centre for cultural activities.
“In the next phases, there will be a recording studio, a community radio station, rooms where we will teach cultural activities,” she informed.
“My vision is that those little cells around the back will become artisan shops where people can go and do their carving, create craft work, and learn to do creative things. When we develop Emancipation Square, we can take performers to the Square to perform for visitors,” she said.
She said the facility, once completed will help enhance tourism in the historic town.
“We are fighting for (Spanish Town) to be put on the World Heritage List. It’s now on the tentative list, and we are going to have to make representation…we want to bring back tourists to this town. We can bring buses of Spanish visitors, they are interested in Spanish Town, and we can turn the produce market into a craft market and create one of the most beautiful historic cities in the world. That is the vision and that is where we are going,” Minister Grange said.
The YICs, which have been established across the island, aim to empower young people by providing them with counselling and relevant information on scholarships, education and training opportunities, and entrepreneurial programmes, access to the Internet, among other things. They also serve to encourage the youth to participate in sound social activities.
The facilities are operated by the National Centre for Youth Development (NCYD).
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter