JIS News

Chief Executive Officer of the Office of National Reconstruction (ONR), Danville Walker, has assured that the office was working assiduously to assist schools that had not yet received aid since the passage of Hurricane Ivan last September.
Mr. Walker said while the Office understood the frustration level of persons awaiting aid especially in the school system, there was much to be done before the repair process could begin. He assured that the problem had been quantified and was being dealt with.
The CEO was speaking at a press conference at the ONR on Oxford Road in Kingston this morning (February 3), to give an update on the scope of work achieved since the establishment of the ONR in September last year.
Mr. Walker said one difficulty being experienced was getting the schools to submit proper Bills of Quantities prepared by quantity surveyors. He pointed out that having estimates prepared by a professional quantity surveyor would serve to accelerate the process. The ONR CEO said failure to go this route had resulted in a number of inaccurate estimates being received with quotes that were far more than was the actual case.
He said the attempt to advertise the schools to attract surveyors had proved fruitless because of several intervening factors. This approach did not work as well as was expected and of the 65 schools advertised by the ONR only nine contracts have so far been awarded.
Mr. Walker however informed, that a team of quantity surveyors were being engaged and would proceed to tender and award contracts as quickly as possible, given the fact that a one month loss of time had occurred while attempting to obtain the Bills of Quantities from schools.
He explained that the 700 schools damaged had been categorized and were benefiting from the assistance of a number of aid agencies and local companies.
In the meantime the CHASE Fund, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) are repairing some 257 basic schools. Also the Early Childhood Fund and the Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture are repairing some 244 schools with 34 of these being repaired by the ONR, the Bank of Nova Scotia and USAID.
Additionally 151 school boards are being given funds, 12 of which will shortly receive funds to effect repairs under the supervision of the education ministry. Approximately 177 schools have not been assigned for repairs. The ONR is currently making arrangements to prepare Bills of Quantities in anticipation of locating funding at an estimated cost of $120 million.
The ONR has been targeting the repair of schools, public buildings, housing, agriculture and the healthcare system. This through the coordination of aid from international donor agencies, countries, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and other groups and individuals responding to the various areas of need.

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