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Ulster Spring, South Trelawny to get fire station

FALMOUTH, Jamaica: Ground will be broken next month for the construction of a new fire station in Ulster Spring, South Trelawny in keeping with the thrust to improve the equipment and infrastructure of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB).

“I am pleased to advise that, hopefully, by the end of August I will be breaking ground for the construction of a brand-new fire station in Ulster Spring,” said Honourable Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.

He made the announcement during a special meeting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation on July 8.

Minister McKenzie stressed the need for a facility in South Trelawny given its geographical outlay and distance from the Falmouth Fire Station. Often times, assistance is sought from fire stations in the neighbouring parish of Manchester when a blaze starts in some South Trelawny communities.

He also pledged to boost the capacity of the fire units at the Falmouth Fire Station with the increased infrastructural developments in North Trelawny.

The parish of Trelawny is to benefit from a fleet of 30 trucks that has been purchased by the Ministry. Fifteen of the new units are already in the island and the remainder is expected to arrive on the island before September.

In May, the Minister also shared with Parliament that the cost of house fires, industrial fires, and other types of fires to the Jamaican economy and society remains very high. Some 10,826 persons have been displaced due to fires since 2016.

“Last year, the Fire Brigade responded to 13,784 fire calls across the island. Data shows that 31 people died as a result of fires, 89 were injured and 1,676 lost their homes or were otherwise displaced,” he explained.  “To put this in greater context Madame Speaker, over the last five years, there were 62,887 fire calls. One hundred and sixty-eight people were killed because of fires and 411 people, including 94 firefighters, injured.”

He also noted that while the JFB is making steady progress in addressing public attitudes to fire safety through the Fire and Life Safety Programme; he wanted every Jamaican to make fire prevention a way of life.


Ministry spends big on fire stations Four new facilities to be handed over by year-end

PORT MARIA, St. Mary: The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development is making a J$924.7 million investment in the infrastructure of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) with the construction of four new facilities.

The new fire stations, which are slated to be handed over by year-end, are being constructed in Montego Bay, St. James; Port Maria, St. Mary; Yallahs, St. Thomas and Old Harbour in St. Catherine.

“Firefighters are always nearby, ready to respond,” said Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie during a tour of the Port Maria Fire Station work site on July 1.

The Minister emphasised that the JFB undertakes essential functions for the safety of lives and properties as well as in times of disaster at a moment’s call.

Commissioner Stewart Beckford said that the new facilities will improve the morale of the firefighters and provide areas for physical and recreational activities for its members.

Three of the new stations are being erected under the World Bank Project. They are the J$535m Barnett Street Fire Station in Montego Bay; the Yallahs Fire Station is being done at a cost of J$113m and the J$217m Port Maria Fire Station.

The Old Harbour Fire Station is being built at a cost of J$59.7m.

During the 2021/2022 Sectoral Presentations, Minister McKenzie announced that the acquisition of new equipment for the JFB will enter a new technological dimension.

“The Fire Brigade will launch the Unmanned Arial Vehicle Programme, and this programme will purchase two drones,” he stated. “The drones will assist with surveillance for search and rescue exercises, as well as fires and other emergency situations. This programme, which is the first of its kind for the JFB, will help our firefighters to far better manage emergency situations.”

The Minister also shared that the plan to build the Papine Fire Station is advancing as the University of the West Indies Mona has formally agreed for a section of its property to be used as the base for the station.

Additionally, land has also been identified in Ulster Spring, Southern Trelawny to build a fire station.

New Montego Bay Fire Station slated for completion within two months

MONTEGO BAY, St. James (JIS NEWS): Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Honourable Desmond McKenzie, says the J$574 million fire station being built on Barnett Street in Montego Bay, St. James is on track for completion within the next two months.
The Minister, who toured the project on June 25 along with Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) Managing Director, Omar Sweeney, and members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB), told journalists that on completion, the new station will be the “most modern” in the Caribbean.
Mr. McKenzie said despite construction delays due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, “the contractors have been able to keep the project within budget.”
“So there is no overrun… and we will complete the project in a timely manner,” he stated adding that “the people of Montego Bay and the wider Jamaica will be proud of this investment.”
The facility’s construction, which commenced in June 2019, is being spearheaded by JSIF under its Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme.
When completed, the station will boast dormitory facilities to facilitate the seamless deployment of fire fighters across various shifts, and adequate administrative facilities and parking bays for trucks and other emergency vehicles.
Minister McKenzie said the Government remains committed to improving the conditions under which the JFB’s members work, through the upgrading of station facilities and provision of vital equipment.
“If we are asking the members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade to put their lives on the line, at least what the Government can do is to provide the proper environment for them to work in,” he maintained, while indicating that the Administration has spent close to J$1.7 billion on new facilities for the JFB since 2016.
For his part, JFB Deputy Commissioner in charge of Operations, Kevin Haughton, said the Brigade was satisfied with the progress of the project, noting that it would improve staff morale and enhance the efficiency of the fire service.
Deputy Commissioner Haughton further indicated that the new station had the capacity to accommodate some 250 firefighters and will “enable us to increase our female to male [ratio]… and that is something that we are very excited about.”
“We will also… be introducing a new service delivery… from the facility… which is the emergency medical service and that certainly will [bolster] the fire brigade’s operations,” he added.
Montego Bay Mayor, Councillor Leeroy Williams, who also toured the project, commended JSIF for its commitment to the resort city’s development, adding that “this structure will [further] enhance [that].”

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.