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    • The 47 male residents of the St. Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay, are now enjoying much improved facilities, following construction of a new ward by the Government at a cost of $31 million.
    • The facility’s opening has significantly improved living conditions and also complements previous renovations undertaken at the institution, which is situated on approximately two acres of land.
    • The opening of the ward formed part of activities marking Local Government and Community Development Month during November, under the theme: ‘Service People – Empowering Communities’.

    The 47 male residents of the St. Thomas Infirmary in Morant Bay, are now enjoying much improved facilities, following construction of a  new ward by the Government at a cost of $31 million.

    Financed by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports, and Education (CHASE) Fund, the ward features double occupancy rooms; bathrooms; a doctor’s examination room and matron’s office; as well as a visiting area.

    The facility’s opening has significantly improved living conditions and also complements previous renovations undertaken at the institution, which is situated on approximately two acres of land.

    These include: construction of a new female ward in 2006/07 at a cost of approximately $10 million, and also a new laundry room.

    Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, who officially opened the ward on Friday (November 21), said its establishment is indicative of the Government’s priority focus on taking care of the society’s elderly.

    “This (new) facility is a critical signpost of our journey to provide tangible social protection of the vulnerable people of our country. Indeed, it is one of the most important duties of care we have, and we are charged to ensure that we do our very best to make effective social protection the common experience in our country,” he said.

    Health Minister, and Eastern St. Thomas Member of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Fenton Ferguson, said the infirmary’s expansion “is symbolic of a progressive Government, in relation to how we treat our elderly and our infirmed.”

    “Any Government that ignores how…children…the elderly, and persons (deemed) vulnerable and infirmed (are treated)…do (so) to (their)…own peril.  Therefore, what we are experiencing today, (by) creating facilities and…opportunities for quality care to these citizens… must be lauded,” he said.

    Member of Parliament for Western St. Thomas, where the infirmary is located, James Robertson, also welcomed the new ward, and commended the input of all stakeholders involved in the development.

    Mayor of Morant Bay, and Chairman of the St. Thomas Parish Council, which has direct administrative responsibility for the infirmary, Councillor Ludlow Mathison, contended that the new ward “is more than just a beautiful building.”

    “It represents a step forward for us, (and) it says that we are serious about caring for the elderly and those who need our support the most,” he noted.

    Custos Rotulorum for St. Thomas, Hon. Marcia Bennett, in her remarks, said the parish can proudly declare that “we boast one of the most modern homes for seniors (in Jamaica)”, adding that “I feel very (pleased and satisfied) that the men (now) have their own quarters.”

    In expressing “heartfelt thanks”, the Infirmary’s Matron, Taniesha Colquhoun, said the institution’s staff and residents “have long awaited” the ward’s opening.

    “Since its inception…the infirmary has blossomed to where it is now. I (believe) it’s safe for me to say that the infirmary has become the epitome of the Poor Relief Department of the St. Thomas Parish Council,” she added.

    Other speakers included: Chairman, Poor Relief Committee, Councillor Rohan Bryan; Secretary of the Board of Supervision, Barrington Parsons; and the Council’s Secretary/Manager, Errol Greene, who chaired the ceremony.

    The opening of the ward formed part of activities marking Local Government and Community Development Month during November, under the theme: ‘Service People – Empowering Communities’.

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