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JIS News

The Government of Jamaica today (May 4) signed a US$29.3 million loan agreement with the World Bank to implement the Inner City Basic Services Project (ICBSP).
Speaking at the signing ceremony, which was held at the Ministry of Finance and Planning’s National Heroes Circle offices, Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Scarlette Gillings, informed that last year, JSIF was designated as the implementing agency for the project, which was aimed at improving the quality of life for residents in 12 inner city communities.
The communities are: Flankers, St. James; Bucknor, Clarendon; Central Village, Tawes Pen, Africa, Dempshire Pen, Jones Pen, Lauriston and Knollis in St. Catherine; and Jones Town, Federal Gardens, Whitfield Town and Passmore/Brown’s Town, commonly known as Dunkirk, in Kingston and St. Andrew. She said that since its inception in 1996, JSIF has successfully implemented projects island wide using the demand driven approach, “where persons come to us for projects and we assist. This is our first attempt targeting specific underserved inner city communities for development. Undoubtedly, there will be challenges, but with our track record, I guarantee that we are equal to the task”.
Director of the World Bank’s Caribbean Country Management Unit, Caroline Anstey, commended the government for prioritizing inner city development. “We are all agreed on the need to focus on important areas of development in inner cities, on crime by doing development differently (and), really empowering local communities to help solve some of their own problems by themselves,” she stated.
Ms. Anstey noted that the project, which would benefit some 60,000 people in the 12 selected communities, “very much focused on some of the key priorities facing Jamaica at this time – crime, inclusion, violence against women and job creation. The way it is focused, particularly on bringing basic services such as water and sanitation and providing a window for micro-finance, are crucial at this point in Jamaica’s development”. She informed that the monitoring aspect would be based on a system of citizen’s report cards, which would allow residents to report on the progress that was being made on the ground. The monitoring system will also include annual audits and a baseline household survey. “Each year, and at the end of the project and five years hence, we can really track what have been the successes in bringing clean water to people, in ensuring sanitation, in providing micro-financing and in reducing violence,” she stated. The Director pointed out that the ICBSP was a pilot for simplifying World Bank procedures, “so we are basing the project very much on environmental and social standards and safeguards put in place by the Jamaican government and this will very much simplify procedures, while also making sure that the money reaches the poor and that there can be results and benefits on the ground.”
Works under the project include improvement in water supply and distribution, sanitation, drainage and solid waste collection systems; as well as regularization of electricity and street lighting; upgrading of secondary and tertiary roads, and the construction of community multi-purpose recreational facilities. Through partnership with existing micro-finance entities, the project will also help the communities with income earning activities.