- REP has largely completed its mandate by bringing Jamaica’s electrification rate in rural communities to 97 per cent.
- Mrs. Simpson Miller, said the programme will now move into a new phase, which will see the development of renewable energy solutions.
- She said the aim is to use solar energy to provide electricity for Jamaicans in rural communities who live too far from the national power grid.
The Rural Electrification Programme (REP) has largely completed its mandate by bringing Jamaica’s electrification rate in rural communities to 97 per cent.
Making her contribution to the 2014/15 Budget Debate in the House of Representative on April 29, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, said the programme will now move into a new phase, which will see the development of renewable energy solutions.
She said the aim is to use solar energy to provide electricity for Jamaicans in rural communities who live too far from the national power grid.
The Prime Minister noted that the project forms part of the government’s overall objective of developing rural communities.
“We recognise the importance of rural development to Jamaica and will continue to place focused emphasis on this area of national life,” she said.
Mrs. Simpson Miller said the primary goal of rural development is the economic enrichment and promotion of social well-being for Jamaicans.
She pointed out that a number of programmes are being implemented as part of the thrust towards improving rural life.
These include the construction of housing units under the Sugar Dependent Communities project, which is being funded by the European Union; the Ginger Expansion Programme; and the Agro Parks projects by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Mrs. Simpson Miller further informed that three Centres of Excellence have been completed in the Health sector, at Darliston, Westmoreland; Santa Cruz, St. Elizabeth; and Claremont in St. Ann. A fourth centre is being refurbished in Duckensfield, St. Thomas.
The National Housing Trust (NHT) has also rolled out its mobile service to better service residents in rural Jamaica.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister informed that the Government continues to strengthen communities across the island through a number of initiatives.
These include the establishment of 174 community access points, which have been funded by the Universal Service Fund.
Also, since June 2012 five markets have been rehabilitated, including the Fish Market in Lucea, Hanover; Charles Gordon Market, St. James; Black River Market, Phase one, in St. Elizabeth; Linstead Market, Phase one, in St. Catherine; and Rocky Point Market, in Clarendon.
The Prime Minister also informed that 31 health centres were refurbished across the island.