KINGSTON — Rehabilitation of the 1.3-kilometre Top Quarter roadway in Smithville, Clarendon is slated to start on Saturday, October 29.
Ground was broken on Thursday (Oct. 27) for the $35 million project, which is being funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), with the community contributing more than $3 million in kind, representing about 10 per cent of the project cost.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony held in the community, General Manager for Finance and Procurement at JSIF, Shirley McLean, said the improvement work would benefit some 2,000 residents, including 150 farmers.
She stated that the project “is yet another sign that the Government of Jamaica, through JSIF, is continuing on the path to improve sustainable livelihoods and public safety where it is most needed."
State Minister for Industry, Investment and Commerce, and Member of Parliament for North West Clarendon, Hon. Michael Stern, said he is pleased about the work to be done on the roadway, which serves some six farming communities.
“This road leads to a big district in Corn Hill, and also Sunbury, which have good soil for yams, vegetables and other things. We do a lot of export from local production and this is the bread basket for this side of the country, so we are pleased to have this road,” he said.
Mr. Stern lauded the community input, noting that residents came out on Heroes’ Day (Oct.17) to clean and clear the roadway in preparation for the work to be done. “I am pleased at the kind of input (from) the community. The community came out on Heroes’ Day and over 60 persons gave free labour. That is the spirit of the community,” he stated.
President of the Smithville Community Association, Morelda Powell, also expressed gratitude that the roadway will be improved. “All stakeholders are more than grateful for this project, which will continue to improve the emotional and physical well-being of residents,” she stated.
Resident of the area, Linnett Dawkins, urged the residents to ensure that no disruption takes place during the project period.
"We appreciate what is going on, we appreciate JSIF, and we have to work and cooperate with them. We are the farmers, who are going to use the road, so if we cooperate with everyone, everything is going to be good and in order. Remember, no badmanship, no confusion, just respect and decency. Everything must be done in order,” she appealed.
By Garfield L. Angus, JIS Reporter