JIS News

A number of schools in St. Catherine and St. Andrew are to benefit from a $14 million injection of capital into those parishes for major projects.
The money will be used for social intervention projects in four primary and early childhood institutions in rural St. Catherine and St. Andrew, and will involve the rehabilitation and construction of sanitary facilities, property fencing and the provision of playground equipment.
The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) has already signed contracts, making the Fund’s commitment official. At Tulloch Primary in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, a contract valued at $4.7 million has been signed for the construction of a new bathroom block and kitchen facilities, while at Woodhall Basic school near Old Harbour a contract for $5.5 million was signed for the construction of a sanitary block and a kitchen as well as minor rehabilitative work to the school’s roof.
In addition, $2.1 million was committed for the construction of a perimeter concrete and chain-link fence at Golden Valley Infant and All-Age School in Eastern St Andrew and some $674,000 was signed over to the St. Boniface Basic School near Harbour View, for the provision of playground equipment.
Keith Byfield, Acting Finance and Administration Manager at JSIF said the Fund’s involvement was part of the focus on enhancing education through the development of facilities. Speaking with JIS news Mr. Byfield said projects such as these had to date expended some 66 per cent of JSIF’s resources, a clear indication of the organization’s commitment to education.
He noted that JSIF was currently on a drive to sign-off on outstanding projects. To this end a number of contracts are to be signed by mid-November. Since 1996, more than 799 projects have been approved by the Fund, with 554 completed, involving more than 104 schools, inclusive of some100 early childhood institutions. This reflects an investment of nearly $4 billion
Mr. Byfield explained that it was communities that approached JSIF with project proposals for funding and these were subjected to approval pending a process that involved set guidelines
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, and Member of Parliament for East Central St. Catherine, K. D Knight who was present at Tulloch Primary’s signing ceremony said he was pleased to be party to the contract signing as it was very important for the school as a critical part of the community, to receive improved facilities. That school has a population of 1,100.
Mr. Knight noted that consistent lobbying efforts on his part as well as the responsiveness of government agencies and the involvement of an active community played a significant role in securing funding. “Communities also have make a contribution to JSIF projects in terms of sweat equity and this community’s contribution has been quantified at 11 per cent of the project, assuring their commitment and meeting the mandate of JSIF,” he noted.
Principals Lizette Morrison of Tulloch Primary, and Audrey Brown-Singh of Woodhall Basic expressed approval of the fact that the projects were finally getting off the ground and both pointed out that the additions would lead to significant improvement, not just to the schools’ infrastructure but to the basic mindset of the students and teachers.
Contractor for the Tulloch Primary project, D. Bissasor and Associates echoed the sentiment of other contractors that they would endeavour to complete the respective projects on time and within budget.