A family of six in Mocho, Clarendon, now has a proper roof over its head courtesy of Member of Parliament (MP) for Clarendon North Central, Hon. Robert Morgan, and community volunteers.
Replacement of the leaky roof of this family home, occupied by two sisters and their children, was chosen as the main Labour Day project for the constituency.
The MP, who is also Minister without Portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for Information, donned his gloves, took up a hammer and got to work early Monday morning (May 23), nailing support boards together, laying sheets of zinc and drilling in screws to secure the structure.
One of the sisters benefiting from the refurbishment, Stephaney Francis, looked on elatedly as the work steadily progressed. The mother of one told JIS News that she is grateful her family’s home was chosen as the chief constituency project.
“I am feeling overwhelmed… because we are in this for a long time and we’ve been struggling with this problem and to see the MP come to help us, we are really thankful,” she said.
Ms. Francis told JIS News that the project is a blessing for her family as they did not have the money to carry out the repairs. She explained that the householders’ earnings are not substantial given that she operates a mini grocery shop at the front of the property, while her sister does domestic work from time to time.
The other sibling, Staean Francis, who has three children, also expressed gratitude for the assistance, which she said is even more significant at this time, as the Hurricane Season will begin soon (June 1).
Minister Morgan said the Francis family was chosen for assistance, as their situation was dire, noting that the roof was in such disrepair it had to be completely replaced.
“The roof was leaking; they had to be using tarpaulin… the children’s books were getting wet, people could not sleep properly, and we thought it was a good initiative where the community members could come out together [and] volunteer their time [to assist the family],” he said.
He noted that most of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocation of $500,000 was used for the project, as about $470,000 was used to buy zinc, plyboard, screws and other materials.
Minister Morgan also informed that a young mother who lives next door with her child also received some support to reinforce the structure of her small wooden dwelling, which is also leaking.
He noted that an additional sum of $400,000 was raised through private donations to buy cement, sand and paint to undertake projects in other areas.
Another key project for the constituency was the installation of drains along Red Mud Road in Wood Hall, in which Mr. Morgan also actively participated – mixing cement, sand and gravel and smoothing the mixture along the side of the road with a trowel to create the well-needed conduit.
Mr. Morgan explained that the road had been fixed last year through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), but the entity was unable to build the drains at the time due to inadequate funds.
“This road never really had drains… . What we realised was that when it rains, water used to run on the road and destroy [the surface] so [after it was fixed]… the community and I got together and we made a commitment to ourselves that we would… put drains along the road so that the road can last longer,” he said.
The MP also stopped in Rock River to help in painting a bus stop.
Other works carried out on Labour Day included the painting of the pedestrian crossing at Beulah All-Age and Infant School; painting the square at Beckford Kraal, as well as sections of the school in that area; and general clean-up activities across the constituency.
Mr. Morgan said he is pleased with how much was achieved with the help of community members who dedicated their time and energy for the day. He noted that their participation was appreciated, even in small projects, which “can have a big impact and are going to change people’s lives for the better”.
“We are really happy for the support of the citizens. We are not paying anyone today. It’s all voluntary work, and we were able to provide them with the tools and the implements to do the work and they came out… and did the work because it’s for the benefit of the community. So, I want to thank the residents of the various communities across North Central, I want to thank the councillors, as well, who all came in with their own projects,” he said.