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Indigent House for West Rural St, Andrew mother

Ground was officially broken for the construction of the first in 100 indigent housing solutions over the next 12 months by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

The houses are being built under the Ministry’s Municipal Social Assistance Programme (MSAP) which was conceptualized during the 2017/2018 fiscal year.

“The Andrew Holness administration has committed to do as much as we can to help to ease the sufferings of persons who fall within the category of poor and destitute,” said Portfolio Minister Desmond McKenzie.

“We put a new feature in it now, we added a water tank so if there’s no water, you have a tank to catch water.’

He was speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony for an indigent house at Grant Hill in Lawrence Tavern, St. Andrew on July 29. The one-bedroom residence will be built at a cost of J$2.5 million. The beneficiary is 47-year-old Michelle Cookhorn.

“I’m very glad. Whether it’s one or two, I will be a very happy woman,” the single mother of five said between tears. “I feel very happy to be selected for this indigent house, I will take care of it. I prayed hard for this house and now victory is mine.”

To date, J$63M have been spent to construct 32 units for beneficiaries with four more targeted for construction during the new financial year.

Minister McKenzie was also joined by Mayor of Kingston, Senator Delroy Williams, Member of Parliament for West Rural St. Andrew Juliet Cuthbert Flynn and Councillor John Myers.

PHOTOS: Minister McKenzie Hands Over House to Raheem Powell

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (second right) makes a point during conversation with (from left) Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas; Ann-Marie Douglas, mother of Raheem Powell; Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament, East Central St. Catherine, Hon. Alando Terrelonge; and Raheem Powell. Occasion was a tour of the new home, which the Minister handed over to young Powell at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Minister McKenzie offered housing and educational assistance to Powell in November 2018 after his needs were highlighted in the media.


Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (second right) is assisted by Raheem Powell (third left) in cutting the ribbon to officially hand over a house to Powell during a ceremony held at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Others (from left) are Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas; Raheem’s mother, Ann-Marie Douglas; and Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information and Member of Parliament, East Central St. Catherine, Hon. Alando Terrelonge.


Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (left) greets Raheem Powell, at the handover of a house to young Powell at Watson Grove in Bridgeport, St. Catherine, on July 24. Looking on is Mayor of Portmore, Councillor Leon Thomas.

Gov’t To Deliver 100 Houses For The Indigent

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government will be delivering some 100 indigent housing solutions in 12 months for persons in need across the island.

He informed that over the last year, 32 houses have been built and handed over to beneficiaries, with another 12 to be constructed by the end of the financial year.

“I took a conscious decision that if we are going to provide for these people who have served their country, we should provide the best possible solution, so that they can be comfortable living out the last days of their lives,” Minister McKenzie said.

He was speaking at the handover of a house to an indigent family in Long Road, Portland, on July 10.

Minister McKenzie said that the beneficiaries on the Indigent Housing Programme have served the country in various areas, such as health and security, and while they have fallen on hard times, the best care must be given to them.

He also added that the Ministry is looking at increasing the funds allocated to the municipal corporations for social housing assistance.

For his part, Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Paul Thompson, welcomed the new dwelling for Everald Gibson and his wife, Hazel.

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for East Portland, Ann-Marie Vaz, said it was a “good day, because, one of the basic needs of human beings is the need for shelter”.

“The gentleman (Everald Gibson) served Jamaica for years, and for him to get a house is a joy for me,” she said.

Mrs. Vaz added that the housing programme is critical, especially for elderly persons, so that they can “live in comfort, with a roof over their heads”.

Fire station proposed for South Trelawny

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will be undertaking the construction of a fire station in South Trelawny.

Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, in making the announcement last month in Trelawny, said that lands have been located for the facility which will serve communities like Ulster Spring, Albert Town, Stettin, Warsop, Troy and Wait-A-Bit.

“We know that this part of Trelawny is challenging and in 2016, we indicated our intention to build new fire stations in certain sections of the country. The Jamaica Fire Brigade, on a visit with the Member of Parliament for the area (South Trelawny) has identified a location to build a fire station,” he explained.

“The Ministry will be soliciting the support of the municipal corporation to assist in the technical aspect…working closely with the Jamaica Fire Brigade.”

The Minister disclosed that the process to realize the new fire station will begin during the 2020/2021 fiscal year.

The parish of Trelawny is now served by one fire station sited in Falmouth located in the northern section of the parish. During fire calls from the hilly territory of South Trelawny, fire units travel from Falmouth or Christiana, Manchester to put extinguish blazes.

Minister McKenzie also committed to constructing a drop-in centre to serve homeless and mentally ill persons in South Trelawny.

“I am going to ask the Secretary of the Board of Supervision to get the poor relief officer to do an assessment of what the needs are in terms of the street people, and I will give a commitment to you that in the next financial year, we will put one (drop-in centre) in this part of Trelawny,” he said.

He stated that a drop-in centre that is being built in Falmouth is almost complete, and will be officially opened in short order.


Indigent Houses handed over in Trelawny

FALMOUTH, Trelawny:

Two indigent houses, built under the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Municipal Social Assistance Programme (MSAP) , have been handed over in the parish of Trelawny.

The recipients are Miss Beverley Grant of Penn Road in Stettin and Vernice and Lloyd Dell of Martha Brae.

“We targeted to build 25 of these units across the country when I made the announcement in my sectoral presentation in 2017,” said Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, said during the first handover in the community of Stettin on January 29.

“We are well past the 25, and by the end of this financial year, we would have built some 35 of these houses right across Jamaica to aid and to support the cause of those who rely on the State.”

The Minister also announced that two water tanks will also be provided to the Trelawny beneficiaries for rainwater harvesting.

The indigent houses under the MSAP feature a studio design of approximately 200 square-foot and each built at a cost of $1.8 million. The dwellings are furnished with a bed, refrigerator, stove, a dining table and other household items. To date, units have been built in Clarendon, St. Ann, St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew, St. Thomas and Portland.

Mrs. Dell shared that the new house will significantly improve the standard of her living conditions as well as her husband, who is visually challenged. “Thank you very much. On behalf of the Dell family, I appreciate it so much. I can’t even find words… but from the depth of my heart, thank you,” she said.

According to Minister McKenzie, the Government is committed to the protection of the country’s most vulnerable. He shared that the administration has spent more than J$1 billion in the 2019/2020 fiscal year on social assistance programmes.


The Local Government and Community Development Minister also underscored that the nation is also gauged by the treatment meted out to the poor and needy.

He further stated that the housing assistance under the MSAP, is an avenue for the State to support those who made substantial contribution to nation building and have fallen on hard times.

Adult Transitional facility to be built in Kingston

JIS NEWS, Kingston: A state-of-the-art Adult Transitional Facility is to be built at a cost of nearly $140 million to serve homeless persons in Kingston and St. Andrew.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, on Monday (November 11) broke ground for the Centre at 163-167 King Street, downtown Kingston.

The facility, to be operated and managed by the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), will be the first of its kind in Jamaica.

It will offer temporary care to members of the homeless population. Through treatment and intervention provided, persons will be reintegrated into the society.

Minister McKenzie in his address at the ground-breaking said that the Government is committed to providing support for the less fortunate in the society, including the homeless.

He said that the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will be responsible for the maintenance of the grounds of the compound.

For his part, Mayor of Kingston and St. Andrew, Senator Delroy Williams, said establishment of the facility will better enable the municipal authority to manage the problems of homelessness in the Corporate Area.

“The city has to take a prominent role in how we deal with homelessness. This Adult Transitional Facility will ease the burden from the Marie Atkinson Night Shelter,” he said, adding that more persons will be reached at the new centre.

Minority Leader at the KSAMC, Andrew Swaby, also welcomed the move to build the transitional facility.

Portland Infirmary to get new male ward

KINGSTON, Jamaica: In keeping with the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s mandate to upgrade the living conditions and plants of the country’s infirmaries; ground was broken for a new $45 million male ward at the Portland Infirmary.

“We are using the Portland Infirmary as the pilot project for the model infirmary. We want to give a different look, a different feel to how we treat our residents,” disclosed Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie.

He was speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony for the new living quarters on November 6, 2019.

The Portland Infirmary also received funding for the construction of a $15 million female ward in 2018. The facility, which houses 59 residents at its site in Port Antonio, is on track to serve as a model institution.

All infirmaries will also boast a therapeutic park, the first of which will be done at the St. Elizabeth Infirmary as part of the activities to mark for Local Government and Community month 2019.

Industrial washers, dryers and standby generators will also be common features at the government-operated facilities. There are also plans by the Ministry to procure and distribute 500 new mattresses across infirmaries.

Mayor of Port Antonio, Councillor Paul Thompson, noted that the efforts of the Ministry and the Portland Municipal Corporation to enrich the lives of the residents are commendable.

“This upgrade will make life more comfortable for the residents and make working conditions better for the staff.”

Member of Parliament (MP) for East Portland, Mrs. Ann-Marie Vaz, express delight at the transformation of the Portland Infirmary, and described it as a demonstration of the Government’s commitment to help the most vulnerable in the society.

The place is a beautiful sight to behold,” added Mr. Daryl Vaz, MP for West Portland, who has been contributing a portion of his parliamentary salary to the infirmary since 2014. To date, his contribution has equalled $1.4m.

Construction of Barnett Street Fire Station on track

JIS NEWS, Montego Bay: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says completion of the Barnett Street Fire Station in St. James is on track to be completed before the 12-month deadline.

Ground was broken for the facility in June of this year.

The Minister, who was speaking to journalists following a tour of the fire station site on September 12, said the project is running ahead of schedule and is not expected to exceed the budget.

He added that completion of the fire station will “solve the problem [of coverage] in Montego Bay, and the entire western part of the island”.

Construction of the fire station is being funded by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) at a cost of $534.9 million, and is being done under the organisation’s Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme (DVRP).

The DVRP initiative supports the Government’s overall thrust in strengthening climate and disaster risk management within the wider context of sustainable development. This includes construction of national priority infrastructure, such as fire stations.

The new fire station, which will have the capacity to house 200 firefighters, will replace the old Barnett Street facility that was demolished in 2006. Since then, firefighters have been operating from the Montego Freeport.

In the meantime, the Minister underscored the Government’s commitment to the improvement of the Jamaica Fire Brigade.

“[Since 2016], we have spent close to $800 million to improve the Fire Brigade, not just in terms of building out facilities but providing vital equipment to the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” Mr. McKenzie said.

Two additional fire stations will be built at Port Maria in St. Mary and Yallahs in St. Thomas under the DVRP.

Mr. McKenzie pointed out that work is set to commence on the fire station in Port Maria by the end of October, and that Cabinet recently approved the contract for the construction of the facility in Yallahs.

“We are expecting that by the end of the next calendar year, the country will have three brand-new facilities to aid the firemen and firewomen across the country,” the Minister said.

For his part, Assistant Commissioner at the Jamaica Fire Brigade (Region Four), Floyd McLean, said the new facility in Montego Bay will help to boost staff morale.

“It is a good push, and I cannot wait until we occupy the building. It will also help us to better serve the community, knowing that we are settled and we do not have too much of the back and forth in respect to where we are,” Mr. McLean said.

The touring party included Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Homer Davis; and Managing Director of JSIF, Omar Sweeney.

$120m homeless shelter for Corporate Area – Facility to be built in downtown Kingston

KINGSTON, Jamaica: The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development will construct a J$120 million homeless shelter during this fiscal year.

“The designs have been completed and the works have already been put to tender. This facility will cater to over 300 Jamaicans who are living on the streets, and lacking proper care,” Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, disclosed during his 2019/2020 Sectoral Presentation.

“We are not only providing physical spaces for the acre of the homeless. This year, $30 million will be provided to the drop-in centres for nutritional support.”

Minister McKenzie also highlighted that the administrative services for the homeless have been greatly enhanced, and eight Parish Homelessness Committees were also established during the 2018/2019 financial year.

New drop-in centres have been built and opened in St. Ann, St. Mary, Hanover and St. Elizabeth since 2018. With construction at more than fifty percent; the parishes of Trelawny and St. Thomas are on track to complete their facilities this year.

“We are also focused on enhancing the quality of life for residents at the infirmaries. The provision of uninterrupted electricity is critical in this respect. That is why this year, solar panels will be installed at all our infirmaries at an estimated cost of $27 million, thanks to the National Housing Trust,” he said.

Through the sport of the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education (CHASE) Fund, the delivery of generators has begun. By the end of the 2019, all infirmaries will be equipped with solar panels, generators and closed circuit television systems will be installed for the safety and comfort of residents and staff.

“The Board of Supervision (BOS) is the Ministry’s guardian of the Social Protection Programme and a beacon of hope for our vulnerable people,” added Minister McKenzie.

“I commend the staff of the BOS as they work to protect our citizens in partnership with the Local Authorities. In this regard, I wish to announce that the Golden Age Hoem in Vineyard Town and the Denham Town Golden Age Homes were returned to the custodianship of this Ministry on February 5 this year, as well as the full care of the indoor and outdoor poor.”

Drop-In Centre opens in St. Elizabeth

BLACK RIVER, St. Elizabeth: Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, has opened the country’s fourth Drop-In Centre in St. Elizabeth.

The St. Elizabeth Drop-In Centre, located at the municipal corporation’s complex in Black River, will provide care, meals and baths for the parish’s homeless population.

Approximately $12 million was expended on the construction of the government-operated facility that features a kitchen, dining area, doctor’s office, nurse’s station and treatment room, bathrooms and laundry room. The Centre is also accessible to the physically challenged.

“We have put staff in all the facilities and I am pleased to announce that in this year’s budget for the Ministry of Local Government, we have funds to operate all the centres,” Minister McKenzie stated.

“We are not operating any facility under this Administration that is going to abuse the people who seek the help of the State and that is why we intend to offer advanced training to those who work within our institutions.”


The St. Elizabeth Drop-In Centre was officially handed over by the Minister to the St. Elizabeth Municipal Corporation on April 26, 2019.


Construction began on four Drop-In Centres during the 2017/2018 financial year under the Ministry’s Social Protection Programme. It is envisioned that the facilities will deliver services with a sense of dignity to homeless persons.

Similar facilities were previously opened in Ocho Rios, St. Ann; Port Maria in St. Mary and Lucea, Hanover. They are tasked with offering medical attention, nutrition and temporary housing for persons in need.

Minister McKenzie has described the Drop-In Centre Project as an increasing investment by the Government in making the structures and services of Local Government more effective.

“The expansion of national facilities that will provide care and comfort to our homeless citizens, is an important aspect of the work of this Government. It is one of the features of the human face of this Administration, and a symbol of our commitment to assisting the vulnerable in our society.”