Sub-grant contracts totalling $11.4 million were signed Friday (August 28) for community organisations to undertake small projects, under the European Union’s (EU) Banana Support Programme.
In March, the EU and the Government signed off on a grant of more than $211 million, under the Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support Project for Jamaica’s Traditional Banana Growing Parishes (RESISP). The programme funds interventions providing sustainable community-based benefits, such as water, roads, health facilities and basic schools, in traditional banana growing areas.
Each Parish Council in the six main banana-growing parishes, in conjunction with the affected communities, identified and designed projects to be implemented at the local level. The projects are expected to address some of the economic fallouts resulting from the discontinuation of the EU’s preferential banana agreement with the Caribbean.
As part of the programme, several sub-grants were approved to help community groups, or representative associations, to implement targeted economic sub-projects, with professional guidance. Sixteen projects were approved and are to commence in September, with the completion date slated for March 15, 2010.
Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair (right), examines a document being shown to him by Project Manager for the Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support Project for Jamaica’s Traditional Banana Growing Parishes, Kingsley Kennedy (second left), while the Representative from the Local Government Ministry on the Oversight Committee for the Banana Support Programme, Calvert Thomas (left), and Secretary Manager of the St James Parish Council, Winston Palmer, look on. They were attending the contract signing for sub-grants under the Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support Project for Jamaica’s Traditional Banana Growing Parishes, at the Ministry of Local Government in Kingston, Friday (August 28).
Mayor of Montego Bay and Chairman of the St James Parish Council, Councillor Charles Sinclair, who led negotiations for obtaining the grant, reported that several projects under the larger grants are already underway in St James.
“Work is currently being undertaken in the Kensington community, at the Kensington Community Centre and Basic School, which is being refurbished at a contract cost of $4.7 million. Construction works commenced August 21,” he reported.
In St. Catherine, construction and furnishing of two classrooms at West Prospect Basic School and work on the Troja Rural Water Supply have also started.
“Other parishes will soon be on stream. Certainly, they are going through their processes and we expect those projects that have been identified in those other parishes to commence in September [or] October,” he said.
“We are all committed to ensuring that these projects are done on time, within budget and that they are efficiently and properly done,” he pledged.
Approximately 10,000 persons are expected to benefit directly from the Banana Support Programme, with another 52,500 expected to benefit, indirectly.