JIS News

Residents of the hilly rural terrain of West St. Thomas should soon see improvements to the waste water infrastructure in their communities as plans are being finalized to execute works to effect the rehabilitation.
Speaking with JIS News at a community development meeting involving the Social Development Commission in Hagley Gap, St. Thomas, Member of Parliament for the area James Robertson said the allocation of $2 million allocated to Members of Parliament to carry out restorative works to devastated roads, drains, and other infrastructure would be used efficiently and effectively.
“We are putting that money through the Parish Council and we are going to allow them to monitor it along with the UDC (Urban Development Corporation),” he said. He stated that based on the level of destruction caused by back-to-back hurricanes on the hilly terrain, famous for its coffee production, the allocation would be a drop in the bucket, in light of what had to be done to bring the infrastructure of the various communities at least to pre hurricane status.
Recently, Minister of Land and the Environment Dean Peart acknowledged that repair work following the passage of Hurricane Emily would be costly. He indicated that in some areas repairs to one retaining wall or to parts of the road network could cost up to $1 million.
“We accept the process,” Mr. Robertson said, “and we are going to work with the system”.
The MP said a pragmatic look would have to be taken at all the projects that needed attention, and the more urgent ones taken on board in the first instance as a matter of urgency. He pointed out that priority would be on small drainage projects, and building small drainage systems.
“We’re already trying to identify which projects will give the best value for money,” the MP stressed. He explained that a special effort would be made to get residents of the various communities to have faith in the process and to understand that all monies given must ultimately go toward the greater good of community development.
Thereafter we are going to focus on community centres, trying to get assistance from Lift-up Jamaica and the UDC to get these recreational facilities fully functional.