- The Government is slated to spend an estimated $3 billion on major social infrastructure projects over the next three financial years.
- The resettlement of sugar industry workers currently residing in barracks on the estates is included among the projects.
- Over 800 residents of sugar estate barracks across the island are slated to be resettled in some 400 housing solutions.
Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Roger Clarke, says the Government is slated to spend an estimated $3 billion on major social infrastructure projects over the next three financial years.
Included in these, is the resettlement of sugar industry workers currently residing in barracks on the estates to which they are attached.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony for the newly renovated Toll Gate community centre and sports complex in Clarendon on January 9, Mr. Clarke informed that as part of efforts to improve the social infrastructure and programmes benefitting sugar-dependent communities, the administration allocated some $1.4 billion in the 2013/14 fiscal year to undertake those projects.
Significant focus, he indicated, has been placed on providing housing solutions to resettle sugar workers residing in dwellings deemed less than ideal for habitation.
“Before the end of this financial year, we will complete 84 housing solutions at Barham and Masemure in Westmoreland, and Spicy Hill in Trelawny to resettle some 300 sugar workers. The second phase will be completed by August of this year, involving construction of some 314 housing solutions at Springfield, Clarendon, and Hampton Court, and Stokes Hall, in St. Thomas,” the Minister informed.
This is being spearheaded by the Ministry’s Sugar Transformation Unit (STU), under the Sugar Area Development Programme (SADP), with grant funding provided by the European Union (EU) Accompanying Measures for Sugar (AMS) Protocol.
Over 800 residents of sugar estate barracks across the island are slated to be resettled in some 400 housing solutions being developed at a cost of over $1 billion.
Additionally, Mr. Clarke said over $500 million has been committed to complete work on basic schools, clinics, sporting facilities, rural roads, and water supply systems in sugar-dependent communities.
“This expenditure has already begun to impact some 9,000 persons, including women and children, in sugar communities. With the continued support of the EU, we will continue these efforts over the period to the end of 2016,” he added.
Renovation of the Toll Gate community centre and sports complex was undertaken at a cost of approximately $22 million, with grant funding provided by the EU.
The project, which was also implemented by the STU and executed by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), entailed construction and improvement of a multi-purpose court, playfield, and community centre; installation of perimeter fencing, and acquisition of equipment for property maintenance.
The Water Well sports complex at Race Course, in Clarendon, is also slated for renovation at a cost of approximately $17.9 million.