JIS News

Minister of Water and Housing, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, says that some $1 billion, from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be spent over the next two years in St. James to address social problems affecting informal communities.
Dr. Chang said that the funds will allow for Government intervention in areas like Lilliput and Norwood, to correct some of the long standing problems affecting informal settlements.
“It will not solve all the problems, but it is a beginning and in doing this we are, as a Government, initiating for the first time the installment of a Squatter Containment Unit that will seek to ensure that we do not over-expand these settlements, as we seek to correct the problems and provide housing solutions,” he said.
The Minister was speaking to an overflow crowd at Thursday night’s Town Hall Meeting hosted by the Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding, at the Montego Bay Civic Centre to discuss the implications of the Government’s 2009/2010 Budget with the public.
Dr. Chang said, however, that the Government’s efforts to deal with the issues plaguing the communities, had started prior to the TEP project, as $600 million had already been made available to upgrade Providence Heights and extend water supplies in Norwood and Flanker.
He said that his Ministry was aiming to provide 10,000 housing solutions throughout Jamaica, this year. This would include Rose Hall, Providence Heights, Green Pond, Vernon Drive and Montego Bay in St. James. He said that although the programme was challenging because of the financial constraints, every effort will be made to get it going.
Following the meeting between the public in Montego Bay and Minister of National Security, Senator the Hon. Dwight Nelson, a joint effort is being made by the public and the private sectors there, for a major social intervention programme to provide training for young people from the violence prone communities.
Over 80% of the homicides in St. James are linked to Montego Bay’s 19 squatter communities, which hold some 30,000 homes. The absence of basic amenities, including roads and water, have been linked to discontent within the communities, as well as the inability of the police to properly patrol them.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Hon. Audley Shaw, His Worship the Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Charles Sinclair and local Members of Parliament, Dr. Horace Chang, Edmund Bartlett and Clive Mullings also spoke. Former Mayor, Shallman Scott, was the chairman.

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