JIS News

Some 3,000 residents are to benefit from the rehabilitation of approximately two kilometres of roadway from Richmond Vale to Richmond Gap in St. Thomas. Work on the road is expected to commence this month and end in December 2013.

A contract between community sponsors and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) was signed on July 3, at the Richmond Gap Church of God, in the parish.

The project will be implemented by two techniques – a traditional component and a community-based contracting methodology. Under the traditional component, the community will be mobilised to manage a contract for a portion of the road. Work will involve the installation of culverts, road base, and road surfacing at a cost of some $26.9 million. Of that amount, the JSIF will donate $23.8 million, while the community will contribute $3.1 million.

Under the community-based model, V drains, U drains and Gabion walls will be constructed, with the JSIF providing $8.46 million and the community, $1.17 million.

Speaking at the ceremony, JSIF’s General Manager of Administration, Human Resources and Communication, Rhonda Lumsden-Lue, said the community of Richmond is heavily dependent on agriculture and has the potential for diversifying some 120 hectares of agricultural production, if the road and water problems are addressed.

“The Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) reports that a consistent water supply and good road network are critical for maximizing economic viability of farming activities,” she pointed out.

She noted that the poor condition of the roads has contributed to the spoilage of valuable produce, increased travel time for persons employed outside the community and limited the ability of emergency vehicles to access the community.

“In fulfilling its mandate, the JSIF seeks to facilitate the empowerment of communities. Notably, for over 20 years, the Richmond Gap Benevolent Society has been trying its best to attract funding for the road. We have not ignored these efforts. Despite the many challenges over the period, our interventions have been aimed at reaching this single goal,” Mrs. Lumsden-Lue said.

Contact: Elaine Hartman Record and Tashika McCarthy