Residents of Chambers Pen in Hanover are to benefit significantly from pilot implementation of the Government’s Rural Development Programme, at a cost of approximately $223 million.
The initiative, which is designed to transform communities in various parts of the island, was announced during the last fiscal year by Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.
He outlined details of the activities programmed for Chambers Pen, beginning the end of May, during his 2022/23 Sectoral Debate presentation in the House of Representatives on May 25, under the theme ‘Leading the Rural Transformation Drive as Jamaica Emerges from COVID-19’.
Among the engagements are road improvement works, to be done at a cost of more than $100 million, and implementation of the Chambers Pen water supply system, at a cost of $30 million, by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL).
Mr. McKenzie informed that a contract was signed for the provision of 3.4 kilometres of pipes and fixtures, adding that a separate tender process will cover the installation process.
“The successful bidder will be signing a contract with RWSL before the end of this month, and we expect to commence the work… by June. Through this project, approximately 1,500 residents in 300 households will benefit from over 52 million gallons of water daily. Some 300 service connections to the National Water Commission’s Great River treatment plant will be installed,” he advised the House.
The Minister further indicated that over three hundred 400-gallon black tanks are slated to be delivered to households.
Meanwhile, four homes are to be constructed under the programme’s social housing c omponent, at a cost of $28 million.
Mr. McKenzie advised that the designs, among other inputs, have been completed and work is expected to commence shortly.
Meanwhile, 300 households are slated to be wired to receive electricity at a cost of $27 million.
The Minister advised that this is being facilitated under a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), adding that work is expected to commence by month-end.
Meanwhile, he said approximately $20 million is earmarked to effect repairs to the Chambers Pen Primary School, for which a contract has been awarded, with another $4 million to be spent to renovate the basic school and community centre.
Mr. McKenzie said the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), has committed $2 million to assist farmers in Chambers Pen in acquiring tools, among other inputs.
He pointed out that this forms part of a multi-government approach, “as we [look to advance] rural development”.
Additionally, skills training programmes, to be spearheaded by the Social Development Commission (SDC), are slated for implementation at a cost of more than $1 million, Mr. McKenzie further said.