NHT funds to repair infirmaries

Observer writer

Monday, April 16, 2018

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie says his ministry will be spending $200 million to improve the conditions of infirmaries across the island this financial year.

The funds to undertake the islandwide improvement projects are being made possible through a joint partnership between the ministry and the National Housing Trust (NHT), McKenzie said, promising that details will be provided in his upcoming sectoral debate.

He disclosed however, that of the $200 million, St James will be receiving approximately $80 million.

“We are providing over $40 million to construct a new ward at the infirmary here in St James. The drop-in centre (a place for the homeless to get meals and a bath) is currently under construction and I am pleased to announce this morning that an additional $38 million will be provided for further construction at the St James infirmary,” he noted.

The minister was addressing the regular monthly meeting of the St James Municipal Corporation on Thursday.

He also told the meeting that some $25 million for each municipal corporation has been provided for in this year's budget though the Ministry of Finance, and will be supplemented by property taxes and the equalisation fund for works on parochial roads across the island.

“Last year, we provided, through central government, $150 million for roads that was spent in about four municipal corporations across the country. A commitment that I gave outside of your regular PRF (Parochial Revenue Fund) and your regular EQ (Equalization Fund) request, that we are going to be providing $25 million to each municipal corporation to do road work. And it is not money to be splintered up. So, when you get $25 million, we want to see two good roads with sidewalks, proper drainage systems, and St James will be a part of that in the future as we move forward for the next year,” McKenzie told the councillors and officers of the municipal corporation.

Meanwhile, the minister also disclosed that based on request from the municipal corporation, the Local Government Ministry will be making available some $6 million to the St James Municipal Corporation for the trucking of water to critical areas of the parish, adding that $7 million to facilitate beautification projects will also be disbursed.

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