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Millions of dollars will be spent to upgrade the infrastructure of infirmaries islandwide, says Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

The Minister was speaking at the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Youth Mayors’ Forum, held at the Clarendon Municipal Corporation in May Pen on November 22.

The event was held as part of Local Government and Community Development Month, under the theme ‘Protecting the Vulnerable…Establishing Hope through Local Governance’.

Mr. McKenzie said that because governments have failed over many years to improve the physical and social conditions of the infirmaries, “we are playing catch-up”.

One of the recommendations from the Youth Mayors is that there should be public-private partnerships for the funding and upkeep of infirmaries.

“This Administration, since 2016, has spent in excess of $3 billion on social programmes in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development. We are spending up to some $500 million now, building new facilities in a number of infirmaries across the country,” the Minister noted.

“We provided funding for the construction of the new facility in St. James and we are now providing more funding through the National Housing Trust to complete the project in St. James. We built a brand-new facility in Portland and we are going to be building another one in Portland,” Mr. McKenzie said.

“In Manchester, that new facility that is there was built under this Administration. We are now spending some $17 million on building a brand-new matron quarters in Westmoreland, and then we are going to be turning our attention to building a brand-new ward at the Westmoreland infirmary,” the Minister added.