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The parish of St. Elizabeth is expected to benefit significantly under Phase II of the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).

This was stated by Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, at the 20th St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation Golden Awards Banquet, held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, on November 28.

Senator Falconer said one of the benefits which will accrue to the parish include road rehabilitation works, at a cost of $262 million, to include: patching and paving, as well as repairs to sidewalks and retaining walls.

Additionally, the Information Minister said the Ministry of Transport, Works and Housing will partner with philanthropic organisation, Food for the Poor, to construct some 60 houses, at a cost of approximately $35 million, for the parish’s indigent. She also pointed out that other agencies, including the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF), will be continuing the parish beautification programme, which commenced under JEEP’s first phase. 

Senator Falconer pointed out that some 900 persons across the parish have been employed in various undertakings by several ministries and agencies since JEEP commenced in March. These entities include: the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries; Labour and Social Security; and Education; as well as the National Works Agency (NWA).

Meanwhile, the Minister said more residents across the parish now have access to information and communication technology (ICT), as a result of the expansion of the number of Community Access Points (CAPs) in several communities, facilitated by the Universal Service Fund (USF).   

These communities, she pointed out, include her own home district, Queensbury; Treasure Beach, Cheapside, Accompong, Balaclava, Mountainside, and Parottee.

Senator Falconer said the USF has extended an invitation to organisations, such as the St. Elizabeth Homecoming Foundation, to submit applications to facilitate expansion of CAPs in other communities.

“Under this arrangement, the (USF) will provide the computers and associated equipment as well as cover the internet charges for these CAPs. The community organisations are free to charge a user fee to cover energy and other charges to keep the facility operational. That is a win-win for all (persons) in St. Elizabeth. We need to get our parishioners, if not technologically savvy, but technologically competent, because that is (currently) the way of the world,” the Minister said.