EU a Good Friend of Jamaica – JSIF Head

Story Highlights

  • Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney, said the European Union (EU) is a trusted and reliable friend of Jamaica, noting that 80 per cent of all grants to the agency come directly from the EU.
  • He said that several communities across Jamaica have benefited from the support provided by the EU.
  • He was speaking to JIS News at the recent handover of three projects to the Flanker community in St. James, which were undertaken by JSIF through the EU-funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP).

Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Omar Sweeney, said the European Union (EU) is a trusted and reliable friend of Jamaica, noting that 80 per cent of all grants to the agency come directly from the EU.

He said that several communities across Jamaica have benefited from the support provided by the EU.

“It is a very important collaboration,” Mr. Sweeney said. “So much of what we do at JSIF is focused on improving access to services in underserved communities, and this has been made much easier by our partnership with the EU,” he pointed out.

He was speaking to JIS News at the recent handover of three projects to the Flanker community in St. James, which were undertaken by JSIF through the EU-funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP).

The projects, done at a cost of $108 million, are: the Flanker Pele Drive Drainage and Road Construction; Flanker Storm Water Drainage Sea-outlet; and Flanker Vietnam Square Central Avenue Drainage.

Mr. Sweeney said the improvement of roads and drains are a significant part of the support provided by the EU, and communities such as Flanker have benefited significantly from these initiatives.

He noted that the Government, in partnership with International Development Partners, including the EU, has invested approximately $300 million over the past six years in Flanker alone. He said that these investments have transformed the community.

Head of Cooperation, EU Delegation in Jamaica, Jesus Orus Baguena, said the institution has provided over $5 billion (€41.5 million) in grant funding to communities across Jamaica over the past 14 years.

The money has gone into projects to improve roads, drains, schools, sanitation systems and police stations; and programmes in violence reduction, dispute resolution, and to improve academic achievement and employment chances of community members.

Mr. Baguena said the EU has committed support up to 2018.

He commended JSIF, noting that the agency has shown “solid credibility” in its capacity to implement the projects both at the operational and financial levels.

“From the EU perspective, I can easily say that we would not have been able to invest so much money in favour of underserved communities in Jamaica, had the JSIF not been what it is. I therefore take this opportunity to commend the JSIF management and staff,” he said.

Mr. Baguena urged the residents of Flanker to take good care of the improved road and drainage infrastructure.

As part of the undertaking, the residents received training to assist with the development of project maintenance plans.

“With the starter kits that were also provided, the close involvement of the Parish Council in the training sessions and the commitment of the community members, we are confident   in your ability to sustain the progress achieved with the implementation,” Mr. Baguena said.

JIS Social