JIS News

Within another week, the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR) will begin co-ordinating the repair and rehabilitation work on schools that were damaged during the passage of Hurricane Ivan more than four weeks ago.
The plan by the ONR is to complete the repairs and rehabilitation work on all affected schools, within the next 60 to 90 days.
In an interview with JIS News, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the ONR, Danville Walker said work on the schools would be carried out in a multi-faceted and multi-pronged way, with several schools being repaired at the same time. All the repair work, he said, would be done in conjunction with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture.
“We are not going to just transfer money to the Ministry of Education, it is going to be co-ordinated, and it is going to be in a number of phases. Because of the way funds are donated to the ONR, we have to have a multi-faceted approach,” he pointed out.
He said that in order to facilitate the necessary co-ordination of the work, the Chief Building Officer in the Ministry of Education was made a member of a special committee within the ONR, that is chaired by a Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Engineering Unit Officer.
Mr. Walker explained that during the course of this week, several methods would be used to identify the schools, which would be turned over to different organizations and groups to carry out the necessary work. He mentioned that a contingent of military personnel from Venezuela were now in the island to help with the reconstruction effort, and they would also be used to effect repairs to schools.
“We look at the schools in Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth, and we are going to try and see how many of these the Venezuelan soldiers can tackle, and how quickly they can get to those schools. We also plan to assemble our own little Venezuelan building army, using some soldiers from the engineering unit.and also some local talent, and try and put together our own little camp, and go into a parish, and start repairing those schools,” he noted.
“We are also going to be awarding contracts, and we would be awarding them through the ONR, in conjunction with the Building Officer of the Ministry of Education, so as to get the repairs started,” Mr. Walker added.
He emphasized that the multi-pronged approach was necessary, in order to complete the repair work within the prescribed time.
Commenting on the contributions being made to the ONR, Mr. Walker pointed out that the needs were going to outstrip the donations. He asked that these contributions be made as quickly as possible, so as to facilitate flexibility in the type of aid that could be rendered.
He said that the necessary structure to ensure transparency and accountability within the ONR, was in place, adding that if the necessary resources were garnered, then his six-month secondment to the ONR would be enough to achieve the goals.

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