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Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has announced that the National Housing Trust (NHT) would be providing some 7,900 new benefits, at a cost of some $13.2 billion in the 2006/07 fiscal year.
Mrs. Simpson Miller, who was making her debut presentation in the 2006/07 Budget Debate as Prime Minister, said through the introduction of these new benefits, the government was “not only giving people a chance, but we are balancing the lives of our people”.
Under the government’s on-going Urban Renewal Housing Programme, she added, housing solutions were being designed for inner-city communities and some three projects are to be handed over soon.
She informed the House that by mid-July, 484 two and three-bedroom units located in Trench Town, at 88 to 100 Spanish Town Road, and at Monaltrie, off Half-Way-Tree Road, would be handed over.
“In addition to these, a total of 628 units are under construction at 231 Spanish Town Road, South West St. Andrew and Denham Town in West Kingston,” Mrs. Simpson Miller noted.The units are due for completion by January 2007.
Turning to the Lift-Up Jamaica Programme, she said under the second phase, 7,000 persons were already employed, while an additional 11,500 persons would be employed during the fiscal year.
“These individuals will also be trained and certified, giving them a skill for life,” she pointed out.Mrs. Simpson Miller said 40 per cent of the jobs, which are expected to be created under the Lift-Up Jamaica Programme, would be reserved for women.
“I am serving warning from now, that I expect that in the near future, that there will be a fifty/fifty allocation.we are balancing the gender and lives of our people,” the Prime Minister said.
She pointed out that more jobs are to be created through the construction of housing developments at Hellshire Park and Johnson Hill in St. Catherine, Mount Edgecombe in Westmoreland, Success in Montego Bay, and the Caymanas Development.
“We are not taking a chance with people’s lives, where they may win or lose. By creating jobs, we are seeking to balance the lives of the people,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
The Prime Minister also announced that $132 million has been allocated by the government for improvement work to be carried out during the year at Dunn’s River Falls and Park, and Ocho Rios Bay Beach in St. Ann; Reach Falls and Winnifred Beach in Portland; and the Green Grotto caves and attractions in St. Ann.
Rehabilitation of the sites, she explained, formed part of the Tourism Master Plan that had been developed under her watch as then Minister of Tourism.
Furthermore, she said that the Two Sisters Cave, a tourist attraction in Hellshire, St. Catherine, is scheduled to be opened in August.