The Full Story
The Epworth rural feeder road in St. Ann, which was rehabilitated at a cost of $109 million, was officially opened by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, on Friday (April 21).
Work on the three-kilometre parochial road was spearheaded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) with financing provided under the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF).
The improved roadway, which was completed three years ago, has already resulted in an approximately 25 per cent increase in crop production due to enhanced access to and mobility across the rural community.
The road has also facilitated increased access to educational institutions, and enhanced vehicular movement for more seamless commuting.
Speaking during the opening ceremony, Mr. Holness noted that Epworth is a “community in the truest sense”, as residents have taken ownership of the new infrastructure and are protecting it with pride and dignity.
He said the Government, through JSIF, gave an undertaking to rehabilitate the roadway, adding that its completion is the fulfilment of this promise.
“We are working as quickly as possible to deliver the changes that [Jamaicans] want to see to make your lives better off… and you can see it right here in Epworth. We (Government) made the commitment to reduce this pain point of your bad road, and it was delivered,” Mr. Holness stated.
He said the Government is also aware of the other challenges affecting the community, citing water shortage and rehabilitation of another stretch of road among these, while promising that these will be appropriately addressed.
For his part, JSIF Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, said citizens contributed $4 million towards the Epworth Feeder Road Rehabilitation Project.
Beyond that, he said they received roadside maintenance equipment, including wheelbarrows, machetes, brooms and rakes, to aid with the roadway’s upkeep, having received the necessary training to identify issues.
“It’s not just a road. It is something that changes the quality of their life. It is something that has brought additional investment,” Mr. Sweeney indicated.
He said more than 200 roads have been rehabilitated across the island since JSIF’s inception and that the CDB, through the BNTF, has aided with these projects.
CDB’s Vice President of Operations, Isaac Solomon, noted that the BNTF has been making far-reaching community and social development interventions in Jamaica and across the region for over 42 years.
Over 98 BNTF projects have been successfully executed in Jamaica according to Mr. Solomon, who informed that the project in Epworth saw residents giving a commitment to maintaining the road for the benefit of current and future generations.