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KINGSTON — Residents of Brandon Hill and Belair in West Rural St. Andrew are to benefit from a bridge and road rehabilitation project, which will be undertaken through $18.04 million in funding from the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).

Officers from JSIF and the Brandon Hill/Belair/Jamaica Agricultural Society (JAS) sponsoring group, on May 25 signed the contract for the project at the Brandon Hill Primary and Junior High.

The project, which falls under the Basic Needs Trust Fund Fifth Programme, which is being financed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), provides for the installation of a Bailey bridge and rehabilitation of 200 metres of farm access roads. It also includes the clearing of land slippages, repair of a fording, laying of rip-rap across drain, and kerb and channel works, to improve access to farmlands and markets.

Project Manager, JSIF, Stephanie Hutchinson-Ffrench, said that the project will benefit the numerous farmers and their families, whose lives have been adversely affected by the absence of a connecting bridge and the condition of the roadway.

“The completion of this project will contribute to the improvement of the standard of living of the community members. The bridge will facilitate increased access to social services for all and improve yield and market access for those engaged in agriculture,” she said, noting that employment opportunities would also be provided.

Mrs. Hutchinson-Ffrench said that the project is significant, as it represents the first time that JSIF was implementing the construction of a bridge.

Minister of State for Labour and Social Security and Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew, Andrew Gallimore, expressed gratitude to JSIF for funding the project and urged co-operation between project managers and community members.

“I am going to ask those who are managing the project to ensure that it is managed in a way that it (benefits) the community,” he said.

President of the Kingston and St. Andrew Branch of the JAS, Senator Norman Grant, commended the JSIF for the tremendous work it has been doing in the “mission of poverty alleviation”.

“We think this project is very important and we are prepared as farmers and members of the community to include our equity, which is our time, our contribution to the project and certainly, this is a clear indication of partnership from a community level,” he said.

The project is expected to be undertaken over four months and will benefit the 1,932 residents and users of the Bailey bridge.

As part of the condition for approval of funding the sponsoring group is required to contribute 11 per cent of the project cost in cash or in kind.

This will include: building gabion baskets; brushing of the roadway before construction; storage of construction materials; discounting labour rate by 20 per cent; providing employment coordinator/community liaison officer; and planning/organising site meetings.

 

By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter