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The Department of Local Government, Office of the Prime Minister, in collaboration with the St. James Parish Council, has applied for and received financial assistance for six Local Authorities to benefit under the European Union’s (EU) Banana Support Programme, in the amount of €1.9 million.
Formal signing for this agreement will take place at a ceremony, to be held at the Wexford Court Hotel, in Montego Bay, St. James, on March 11.
The grant was solicited to support the project entitled, ‘The Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support Project for Jamaica’s Traditional Banana Growing Parishes/Communities (RESISP)’. Communities in the six traditional banana growing parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, St. James, Clarendon and St. Catherine, will benefit directly from the project.
Each Council, in conjunction with the effected communities, will identify and design projects to be implemented at the local level. The projects will address some of the economic fallouts resulting from the discontinuation of the EU’s preferential Banana agreement with Jamaica.
The Parish Councils in each parish will be the main driving force behind the attainment of the agreed goals and objectives of the RESISP programme, ensuring that staff representatives from the Councils are nominated for the planned training and development activities; implementing day-to-day activities; allocating pre-determined resources as budgeted; supporting the Project Management Unit, in ensuring that the EU and Government of Jamaica procurement policies are adhered to, and providing technical support to the final beneficiaries.
The RESISP will address a number of issues, including the lack of local level institutional capacity development, which includes project support, implementation and oversight, parish council and local sustainable development planning, and community based organisations/representative groups. The programme will also look at the inability to afford usually expensive capital-intensive targeted engineering works, construction/rehabilitation of community economic infrastructure and facilities for sustainable livelihood, social and economic re-integration support programmes. It will also address community-based organisations’ inability to implement targeted economic enhancement sub-projects.
Some of the stipulations of the grant agreement are that all projects must be completed within 18 months, and the St. James Parish Council is required to provide the EU with interim and final reports providing a full account of all aspects of the implementation programme.

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