- The Government of Jamaica will be spending approximately $2.4 billion on social programmes to benefit sugar-dependent communities over the next three years.
- The expenditure will go towards schools, health and sport facilities.
- The government is working to significantly transform the sugar-dependent communities.
The Government of Jamaica will be spending approximately $2.4 billion on social programmes to benefit sugar-dependent communities over the next three years.
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, made the announcement on February 6, as she addressed a ceremony for the handing over of 39 housing units at the Steelfield (Spicy Hill) housing development in Duncans, Trelawny.
She informed that the expenditure will go towards schools, health and sport facilities.
“This funding is in addition to the approximately $900 million, which has already been disbursed to sugar workers and small cane farmers, to cushion the effects of the fallout from divestment of the public sector sugar estates,” the Prime Minister said.
She stated that the government is working to significantly transform the sugar-dependent communities. She said that there is an “integrated programme” of development for these areas, as part of the process of rural development.
“We believe passionately that we will never be able to deal with urban decay and under-development and to deal with poor communities in rural Jamaica … I want to ensure that we begin to pay special attention to our deep rural communities,” Mrs. Simpson Miller stated.
The housing units, constructed at a cost of $155 million, were provided under the European Union-funded Sugar Barracks Relocation project. The beneficiaries received the keys to their new homes free of cost with only payments made for their titles, which will be distributed soon.
Approximately 876 sugar workers and their relatives, who have been living in old sugar barracks, located in the sugar dependents areas of Westmoreland, Trelawny, Clarendon, and St Thomas, are slated to benefit from improved housing under the Sugar Barracks Relocation project.
“Since 2007 to the current time, some $9 billion has been contributed by the EU under the programme. Some 400 housing solutions will be constructed in several relocation sites in four sugar parishes. Construction is expected to be completed in September this year at a total cost of $2.4 billion,” the Prime Minister informed.
Mrs. Simpson Miller has expressed appreciation to the government and people of the EU for their financial support.
“On behalf of a grateful nation…I say thank you and God bless you for your contribution to assisting the government of Jamaica in removing sugar workers from the barracks … this could not have been done without the support of the EU,” she stated.
The Prime Minister informed that the EU has been consistent in its support of government’s programmes to transform the country’s sugar industry.