JIS News

A total of $3.1 million has been spent to upgrade sanitary facilities at the Ewarton Primary School in St. Catherine. Work on the project included the construction of a new toilet block equipped with 18 water closets, while the existing bathrooms were upgraded with flush toilets installed. A total of 1,652 students and 51 staff members are expected to benefit from the effort.
The sanitation project, implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), was funded by the Caribbean Development Bank and the Ewarton Primary Parent Teacher’s Association (PTA). As part of the condition for approval for funding, the PTA contributed approximately 11 percent of the total project cost. This included the provision of water and electricity during construction, the clearance of the site and the provision of security and storage for materials throughout construction.
At a ceremony held on February11 to officially hand over the project, a plaque was unveiled by Operations Manager at JSIF, Omar Sweeny and Transport and Works Minister, Robert Pickersgill. The ceremony was attended by parents, teachers and staff members of the school.
In his remarks, Mr. Sweeney said that since 1966, when the fund was established, it had invested “in excess of one billion dollars” on education projects islandwide. Additionally, he said, some $167 million was spent on 25 school projects in St. Catherine.
Mr. Sweeny noted that a large number of the applications received for school projects were for improvements to sanitary facilities. He stated that in most cases, poor maintenance was the main reason for the poor condition of bathrooms and implored the students and community members “to keep maintenance paramount.”
“Break the mindset and the culture that we have to build a building and leave it there until it falls down. In our current environment, we have to focus on maintenance,” he stated.
In his address, Mr. Pickersgill, who is Member of Parliament for North Western St. Catherine, where the school is located, congratulated staff members of the JSIF, the PTA, the project contractor and parents for ensuring the completion of the project.
He urged the students to maintain the sanitary facilities. “Those water closets are not only for you but for future generation. You are stewards and you are to exercise the kind of stewardship that when you are finished with it, it is in the same condition as when you had it,” the Minister stated.
Ewarton Primary was started in 1926. It was built to accommodate 900 students and now serves over 1,600. Over the years, the school’s PTA had successfully undertaken a number of upgrading projects including the fencing of the school compound, the building of a tuck shop and the provision of a school bus.

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