JSIF Invests $613 Million in Western Jamaica


The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has invested approximately $613 million in 138 community development projects in the parishes of St. James, Hanover, Trelawny and Westmoreland since its inception in 1996, to benefit some 85,000 persons.
The projects include the construction, rehabilitation, expansion and equipping of schools, building community centres, rehabilitation of roads, construction of water supply facilities and organizational strengthening.
A breakdown of the number of projects and the amount of money spent in the four parishes to date, reveal that Westmoreland has benefited most from the fund, with approximately $194 million spent on 48 projects. St. James is next with expenditure of $169 million on 32 projects; a total of $150 million was spent to complete 37 projects in Trelawny, while Hanover has benefited from 21 projects at a cost of $100 million. All four parishes have projects in the pipeline awaiting final approval from the Fund.
Operations Manager at JSIF Omar Sweeney, told JIS News, that western Jamaica was but one of the organization’s project areas, as it embarks on its mandate of “empowering communities and building national capacity to effectively implement community-based programmes aimed at social development.”
He pointed out that since 1996, the board has approved over 700 projects across the island for a total investment of $2 billion. He said that 500 of the projects have been completed. “I will also add that our direct beneficiaries of our investments are over one million people,” Mr. Sweeney told JIS News.
“When you compare that with the population, of course, you can see that we have had a major impact, in terms of meeting our mandate, which is to assist underserved and vulnerable groups across the island”, he noted further.
JSIF is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the World Bank, International Development Bank (IDB), the European Union (EU), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Netherlands government and the government of Jamaica.
In outlining JSIF’s policy for approving projects, the Operations Manager pointed out that the project must serve poor communities as determined by the Planning Institute of Jamaica’s quarterly ranking.
“The second criterion is community involvement, which requires a certain level of community participation and contribution. The third criterion has to be priority. The project has to be the number one priority for the community”, he explained.
He emphasized that the process of selection and implementation of projects islandwide, had brought with it certain challenges, one of which was that “there has always been more demand than supply”.
Mr. Sweeney said that at times, some projects that are presented would show a critical need but would be too large, putting it outside the scope of the Fund.
He however, appealed to communities to continue to take charge of their own development, and to work closely with the necessary agencies in place to assist them, including JSIF.

JIS Social