One-Minute Reads … News from across Jamaica

February 21, 2020
Patients from the Nise de Silveira mental health institute dance during the institute’s carnival parade, in the streets of Rio de Janeiro on Thursday. Patients, their relatives and workers from the institute held their parade before the start of carnival, which begins today.

More than a billion to fix farm roads

The Government will be spending $1.25 billion in the upcoming fiscal year to rehabilitate approximately 80 kilometres of farm roads islandwide.

The money has been allotted in the 2020/21 Estimates of Expenditure, now before the House of Representatives.

The project, which is being implemented by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority, should rehabilitate approximately 420 kilometres of rural roads across 98 extension areas in 13 parishes. It should cause an estimated three per cent increase in production, provide employment in the repair/rehabilitation phase to rural farm families, and benefit registered farmers in the medium to long-term as well as attract new entrants to the agricultural subsector.

Up to December, 2019 under the project, 115 km of farm roads have been rehabilitated across 13 parishes.

Funded by the Government of Jamaica, the project, which began in April, 2017, is scheduled to end in March 2022.


CCTV network to be upgraded


Work is slated to continue to upgrade the country’s closed-circuit television (CCTV) network in the new fiscal year.

The Ministry of National Security will be spending $1.2 billion for the undertaking.

Upgrading of Jamaica’s CCTV network will be done with the supply and installation of cameras and servers.

The money will also be used to upgrade the radio communications network and computer-aided dispatch Systems.

The project, which commenced in April 2014, is slated to end in March 2021. The sum will be provided from the Consolidated Fund.


Millions to tackle drought


The Government will be making $100 million available to the nation’s municipalities to tackle drought.

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie, said the Government will also be providing councillors with 500-gallon black water tanks to immediately deal with some of the most affected areas in their respective divisions.

Farmers in several parishes that have been affected by the drought conditions are welcoming McKenzie’s comments.

“This is really music to our ears,” said farmer, Patricia Anderson, operator of 15 acres of land at the Holland Estate in St Elizabeth. “I have been having some serious water issues and have not been able to do exactly what I would love to do, so this is welcome news that there are plans to assist.”


Education Minister pleased with budget allocation


Minister without Portfolio with responsibility for Education, Karl Samuda, says $5 billion has been added to the Ministry’s budget for the 2020/2021 financial year.

He said that the increase will augur well for the Ministry, as it will be able to accomplish a lot more in the sector.

Meanwhile, the Minister said he intends to significantly raise the standards of schools across the island, particularly as it relates to school furniture, as institutions must be properly equipped.

“No school, no classroom must have a desk designed for twohaving three students [seated] at that desk. No school should be devoid of proper sanitation. We want to raise the standards of our schools, no matter how small or large[they are],” he said.

He assured educators in attendance that they have his full support, and encouraged them to partner with the Ministry.


Upgraded water supply system for St Catherine community


More than 7,000 residents in and around Watermount in St Catherine should have adequate potable water in the next eight months from a $150-million upgraded system in the area.

The Watermount Water Supply System, which is being developed by the Rural Water Supply Limited (RWSL), will be turned over to the St Catherine Municipal Corporation on completion, to serve some seven communities in the area.

The communities include Mendez, Back Pasture, Cudjoe’s Hill, Old Works, Watermount, Barry and Pedro.

Water will be sourced from the William Gully Dam, with new transmission and distribution lines installed, and construction of a storage tank and pump station.

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