Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Desmond McKenzie
KINGSTON, Kingston —- Residents of Chambers Pen in Hanover will benefit significantly from the pilot implementation of the government’s rural development program, at a cost of approximately $223 million.
The initiative, which aims to transform communities in various parts of the island, was announced last fiscal year by Local Government and Rural Development Minister Desmond McKenzie.
He outlined details of activities scheduled for Chambers Pen, beginning in late May, during his presentation of Sector Debate 2022/23 in the House of Representatives on May 25, under the theme “Leading the campaign for rural transformation as the Jamaica emerges from COVID-19′.
Commitments include road improvement works to be carried out at a cost of over $100 million and the implementation of the Chambers Pen water supply system at a cost of $30 million by Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL).
McKenzie informed that a contract has been signed for the supply of 3.4 kilometers of pipes and fittings, adding that a separate tender process will cover the installation process.
“The successful bidder will sign a contract with RWSL before the end of this month, and we expect to start work… by June. Through this project, approximately 1,500 residents in 300 homes will benefit from more than 52 million gallons of water per day. Some 300 service connections to the National Water Commission’s Grande Rivière treatment plant will be installed,” he told the House.
The Minister further indicated that more than three hundred 400 gallon black tanks are expected to be delivered to households.
Meanwhile, four houses are to be built under the social housing component of the program, at a cost of $28 million.
McKenzie said the designs, among other things, have been completed and work is expected to begin shortly.
Meanwhile, 300 homes are expected to be wired for electricity at a cost of $27 million.
The minister said this was facilitated by a memorandum of understanding with the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), adding that work is expected to start by the end of the month.
In the meantime, he said about $20 million is being allocated to repair Chambers Pen Elementary School, for which a contract has been awarded, and another $4 million will be spent renovating the school in base and community center.
McKenzie said the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, through the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), has committed $2 million to help farmers in Chambers Pen acquire tools, among other inputs.
He stressed that this is part of a multi-governmental approach, “as we [look to advance] rural development”.
In addition, vocational training programs, which will be run by the Social Development Commission (SDC), are expected to be implemented at a cost of over $1 million, McKenzie added.