The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) and the Beeston Spring, Community Development Committee (CDC), on Friday (Dec. 14) signed a sponsor agreement of approximately $18 .77 million for the rehabilitation of some 2.6 kilometers of roadway, between Beeston Spring main road and Left Hall district in Eastern Westmoreland.
Signatories included, Member of Parliament for Eastern Westmoreland and Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Luther Buchanan; Project Manager at JSIF, Ms Celia Dillon; President of the Beeston Spring CDC, Astil Gage; President and Vice President of the Mountain Heights Community Club in Left Hall District, Ms Inez Kerr and Mr Joel Gayle, respectively.
Addressing the signing ceremony held at the Salem Primary and Junior High School, in Beeston Spring, Minister of State Buchanan, said the government sees rural development as critical to national development, adding that structured rural development is of paramount importance to curbing overcrowding in urban centres.
“The truth is, that with infrastructural upgrades such as this one, communities like Beeston Spring has an opportunity now to expand your tourism product,” he stated.
He noted that the value of the lands within the beneficiary communities will also rise with the newly added infrastructural improvement, noting that the overall economic potential of the area and its residents will be improved.
Meanwhile, Ms Dillon pointed out that the project is being funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Jamaica (GoJ) through the Community Investment Project (CIP) programme.
She noted that the project was given priority because the area is a recognised farming area, with a Social Development Commission (SDC) community profile showing that approximately 57 per cent of the residents practice farming, both for economic gain and for subsistence.
Ms Dillon explained that the present project represents the completion of another project started in 2004, which was discontinued due to expiration of funding. The project will see 1 .2 km of roadway resurfaced and 1 .4km repaired.
Pointing out that some 1,200 residents of both the Beeston Spring and Left Hall districts will be direct beneficiaries, Ms Dillon commended the community for its contribution of over $2 .4 mil towards the project.