Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, officially handed over several infrastructure projects in the Barrett Town community in St. James on Friday (August 7), which were completed under the European Union (EU) funded Poverty Reduction Programme (PRP) and the World Bank funded Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP).
The projects, which primarily seek to promote public safety and crime reduction, were spearheaded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
They include, a state-of-the art park, a multi-purpose community centre, the removal of zinc fences along Vietnam road and a newly constructed infant school.
Speaking at the handover ceremony following a tour of the community, Prime Minister Holness said the projects exemplify the success of the social and infrastructure development programmes and lauded the EU and the World Bank for their continued contribution to the advancement of Jamaica.
“The EU has been very supportive of Jamaica and is by now one of our largest donor agencies and I want to say a special thanks to the EU and to Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska and we have another advocate for Jamaica… [Resident Representative, World Bank Jamaica] Ozan Sevimli,” he said.
“Though these programmes have come to an end, I have been reflecting on the success exemplified right here in Barrett Town, that we could create at least ten or fifteen communities easily, in terms of the upgrades and developments that have occurred here, using the template that has been tried and proven,” Mr. Holness added.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the Government stands ready to further enhance Barrett Town and other inner-city communities across the island, through infrastructure development.
He advised the residents to foster greater care for their environment as the sustainability of the projects “hinges on that.”
“We are going to make the investment in communities like Barrett Town. We’re going to fix your roads; we are going to fix your clinics, we are going build infant schools, we are going to remove zinc fences and we may even seek to assist in the development of your residences,” he stated.
“The new programme that we will seek to pursue with the World Bank and with the grace and kindness of the EU if we continue in partnerships like these which we have under the Zones of Special Operations, we will improve the conditions under which you live,” he added.
For her part, Ambassador Wasilewska said the EU, which constructed the infant school for the community, is pleased to have partnered with residents to execute the project.
“One of the things that I am particularly proud of is that the Poverty Reduction Programme was based on providing those services [such as] infrastructure in the community,” she said.
“The community itself identified the most crucial element to help them turn around, in terms of their community dynamics and safety, in terms of the needs, and I am very proud of that because that approach feeds into our approaches for other programmes that hopefully will help government to address citizen security,” the Ambassador added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sevimli stated that the projects have transformed the aesthetics of the community and will address issues of safety and security.
“It is beautiful to have seen the transformation and what was very exciting for me is that this is a success story because you the community have been actively involved in this. It’s not that anybody else decided where the infrastructure goes… you made the decision and some of you actually worked on some of the projects and I think that is the best way to transform community,” he said.