KINGSTON — Two roads in Rockfort, East Kingston, reconditioned by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) with $19 million worth of grant funding from the European Union's (EU) Poverty Reduction Programme (Phase 2), were handed over on Tuesday August 23.
The upgrading of Rusden and Tiverton roads, covering some 686 square metres, expected to improve entrance and exit to and from areas of Rockfort, were handed over to the Ministry of Transport and Works at a ceremony at the Johnson Town Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Managing Director of JSIF, Scarlette Gillings, noted that the previous state of the roads affected the residents ability to travel in and out of the community.
“The consequence was a negative impact on students who had to walk to school, and the sick and elderly residents who were forced to walk long distances to get transportation to go to the health centre. Additionally, the police response time to crimes was hampered,” Mrs. Gillings said.
She also noted that the roads lacked drainage, and the existing kerb and channel were blocked by dirt and debris washed onto the roadway during heavy rainfall.
“The completion of these roads means that the small shop owners, tailors and seamstresses, mechanics and informal commercial importers and all who make their homes here, can raise their families with a greater peace of mind,” she said.
Head of Delegation of the European Union, Ambassador Marco Mazzocchi Alemanni, stated that European Union has been very keen on undertaking road repairs in Jamaica.
“We have already contributed, over a number of years, US$4 million for road maintenance, including studies and technical systems. We welcome anything that can improve the Jamaican road network,” he said.
He explained that the rehabilitation of the two roads was the fourth project under Phase II of the Poverty Reduction Programme in the area. The others were the expansion of the Windward Road Primary and Junior High School, and the school feeding programme at Rennock Lodge Primary and Junior High School
Minister of State in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Hon Othniel Lawrence, commented that good roads were critical linkages to social and economic development.
“One of the visions of the national development plan for Vision 2030 is for Jamaica to have a sustainable and efficient road network. We have progressed over the years, and Jamaica has much to celebrate with regards to the development and improvement of the country’s road network,” Mr. Lawrence said.
He however noted that due to limited funds, the Government was “happy” to partner with various agencies and different countries to ensure proper roads and services. He expressed his appreciation to the EU for funding the repair of the two roads in East Kingston.
Member of Parliament for East Kingston and Port Royal, Phillip Paulwell, also thanked the EU for their assistance.
“I was so very pleased when, after the community approached JSIF, they got my support and very quickly we were able to get these two roads done at Tiverton and Rusden,” Mr. Paulwell said.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter