Ground was broken on January 20 for a $190 million rehabilitation and construction of infrastructure project to be carried out in the Lilliput community of St. James.
The project is phase three of the Lilliput upgrading programme, which is being implemented by the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) through funding from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF). Phases one and two were implemented last year at a cost of approximately $44 million.
According to Managing Director of the HAJ, Joseph Shoucair, work on the project should begin on January 26, and last for approximately nine months. The contractor is D. R. Foote Construction Company Limited. “The work will see the paving of the roads and the construction of storm water drains,” he informed.
He said that the project “is part of the overall plan to develop the whole eastern end of the Montego Bay corridor, the eastern side of the Rose Hall corridor, which is the elegant corridor”.
Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, said that Lilliput was one of the largest informal settlements in the parish and the intention of the Government is to formalise these settlements across the island so that the residents can become proud land owners.
He made mention of the social development programmes being implemented by his Ministry, which includes the delivery of registered titles to residents.
“We can say today that the programmes we have launched, not only in terms of social intervention but to upgrade our communities, have made them much safer, and have given the members of the communities a greater sense of pride and dignity, and they too want to protect the character of their communities,” he stated.
Tourism Minister and Member of Parliament for East Central St. James, where Lilliput is located, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, said that the project will significantly enhance the property values in the community.
“You have the responsibility, after we have done what we need to do, to make this… not only a place where people live, but where people are joined by commonality of purpose that will make everybody here a brother, and a sister, and a friend and are hospitable and welcoming to everyone else who comes into the community,” he told the residents.
He further urged them to “be jealous of the safety and security of each other in the community”.
The Lilliput upgrading project falls under the TEF’s Rehabilitation of Resort Areas Squatter Settlement Programme, which aims to rehabilitate infrastructure in a number of squatter settlements along the north coast and address the problem of crime and violence by providing access to the police and civic groups, and improve the general welfare of residents. The other communities involved are Flanker and Norwood in St. James and Shaw Park Heights in St. Ann.
Roads and drainage works have been completed under phases one and two of the Lilliput project, to benefit 350 households. Water and electricity have been made available.
CONTACT: BRYAN MILLER
JIS REGIONAL OFFICE