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Local Government Minister officially opens Male Ward of the St. Thomas Infirmary

Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Noel Arscott, has officially opened the Male Ward of the St. Thomas Infirmary.

At a special ceremony held to mark the event in November, Minister Arscott hailed it as “a critical signpost on our journey to provide tangible social protection to the vulnerable people of our country. It is one of the most important duties of care we have, and we are charged to ensure that we do our very best to make effective social protection the common experience in our country.”

The current facility emerged out of the urgent need for a suitable residential space to accommodate the male residents. The Ward was in a deplorable condition and presented a serious health risk to its occupants.

The work to create the new facility dates back to 2009, when the then Department of Local Government worked with the Board of Supervision, the St. Thomas Parish Council and the Fund for Culture, Health, Arts and Education (CHASE) to construct a new male residential ward at the St. Thomas Infirmary. The initial construction works were completed in March 2011 at a cost of $19.9 million.

Additional works involving the construction of a new sewerage system, carried the total project into this year, at a cost of $10.8 million. This new ward, which will house an additional 31 male residents, features double occupancy rooms, a general bathroom, a doctor’s examination room, matron’s office and space for visitors.

The Minister stated that this project reflects the Government’s drive to transform the physical spaces through which social protection is delivered. That was the signal given by the Prime Minister, during her contribution to the 2014/2015 Budget Debate. It was announced at that time, that the National Housing Trust (NHT) will be using $280 million of the surplus normally used for grants and subsidies, to provide assistance in three main areas. These include:

  1. The improvement of infirmaries – $80 million.
  2. Assisting with the provision of shelter for street persons – $74 million.
  3. Assisting with the maintenance of indigent housing – $72 million.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, which has portfolio responsibilities for Infirmaries, Street Persons and Indigent Housing, has been working with the NHT to implement the initiative in collaboration with the Board of Supervision and the Local Authorities.

Infirmaries requiring urgent assistance have been identified in St. Elizabeth, Manchester, Portland, St James and Clarendon.

The Minister also announced that in relation to the provision of Shelter for the Homeless, a number of projects have been identified in Clarendon, Kingston & St. Andrew, Westmoreland, Hanover, St. Ann and Manchester. These include the Refurbishing of a Building to be used as to Drop in Centre, the Acquisition of a building to develop a transitional facility for the Homeless, repairs to existing transitional facilities, and the construction of new ones.

Local Government Plays Major Role in Labour Day 2013

Minister of State in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, the Honourable Colin Fagan announced the Local Authorities’ parish projects being planned for Labour Day May 23, 2013; which are all geared towards supporting the national theme “Lend a hand…Build our land”.
The announcement was made during the National Church Service held at the United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic, 20 Camp Road yesterday Sunday, May 19, 2013.
The State Minister also explained that the Ministry would be facilitating the registration of community projects through the island’s fourteen Local Authorities as well as the Social Development Commission (SDC) and that the SDC will, as usual, be the main mobilization machinery for volunteers to work on the National, Parish and community projects.
The State Minister also made a presentation on Monday May 13, 2013 during the ceremony to Launch National Labour 2013; at that time he said that the Ministry was pleased to once again be associated with National Labour Day and stood ready to play an even more integral role as Jamaica continues its annual observation of National Workers’ Week and Labour Day.    “Ever since former Prime Minister Michael Manley advocated for Labour Day to be used to showcase the importance of labour to the development of Jamaica, local government has been integrally involved in one way or another in its observation, and we look forward to continuing… to deepeningour efforts in the not too distant future”, he said..
The Parish Projects are:
Clarendon       –          Building of a two bedroom board structure for a mother of
four children
Manchester      –         Work will be done at the Mandeville Regional Hospital
Westmoreland –          Rehabilitation of the Roaring River Early Childhood Institute – Pittersfield
St Thomas       –          Building two houses for two homeless persons.
Portland          –            Repairs to steps at the Port Antonio Hospital
St Ann             –            St. Ann Infirmary
Trelawny        –            Cleaning of Falmouth Town
St James        –           Repairs to Charles Gordon Market
Portmore       –            Repair and build houses for two disabled persons
Hanover         –           Work to be done on the Orange Bay Basic School
St Catherine   –          Rehabilitation of the Spanish Town Market
St Elizabeth    –          Construction of partitions for a classroom block at the St. Mary’s All Age School, St. Mary in the Malvern Division, South East, St. Elizabeth
K.S.A.C.        –            Work will be done at the Golden Age Home – Vineyard Town;
                                    and the Wortley Girls Home
They will be painting the Central Police Station;
                                    Painting & cleaning up of the KSAC’s Administrative Building and
                                    surrounding area to give facelift
St. Mary is not included as this is where the National Project will be taking place; The Port Maria Infirmary.

Half-a-million for immediate repairs to Mo Bay Fire Station

Resulting from a technical audit and the submission of a report by the Department of Local Government, the sum of half-a-million dollars ($500,000) has been earmarked for immediate repairs to be effected to the Montego Bay Fire Station at Freeport in St. James.
This action emanated from a meeting convened this afternoon by Minister Shahine Robinson along with board members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the technical staff of the Department of Local Government.
Just over a week ago Minister Robinson – who had responsibility then for the local government portfolio – scheduled a meeting with the hierarchy of the Jamaica Fire Brigade including board members and senior members of the Department of Local Government to address the immediate concerns and to continue discussions on the way forward in looking at a comprehensive plan for the island’s fire stations.
The Minister, in swift response to a scathing media report on the plight of the living and operational conditions of the men and women in one of the western region fire station, had mandated the technical services unit within the ministry to conduct an audit of the fire station facilities.
The technical audit was undertaken to determine the better of two options for the fire fighters who are currently being housed in less than ideal condition at the existing location. The audit team in its recommendations supported by the JFB Board of Directors identified immediate rehabilitation of the temporary facility as the priority action at this time. The scope of works is being developed by the technical team in conjunction with members of the Brigade. Work is slated to start next week.
Meanwhile, discussions have also put forward plans for exploring financial options to start the new building among other medium and long term plans for the island’s fire stations.
The original headquarters for the St. James division at 34 Barnett Street in Montego Bay was demolished sometime ago to facilitate a new and modern facility slated to cost $200million dollars. However, due to budgetary constraints the plans have been put on hold, resulting in the firefighters being relocated at their current location at Freeport.

Manchester gets two indigent houses

HATFIELD, Manchester: Two more indigent homes, which were conceptualized under the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development’s Municipal Social Assistance Programme (MSAP), have been handed over in the parish of Manchester.

The studio units were constructed at a cost of approximately $6 million by the Manchester Municipal Corporation. The local authority will be reimbursed by the Ministry.

“I am proud of the Manchester Municipal Corporation. This project was financed from own source funds specifically sub-divisions and building fees,” shared Mayor of Mandeville, Councillor Donovan Mitchell.  “We intend to refurbish a third structure on the property and upgrade it for its occupant who is visually impaired.”

He also said the local authority will be looking to undertake repairs to dwellings occupied by those in need across the parish.

Minister Desmond McKenzie on April 25, 2019 officially presented the furnished units to beneficiaries Mr. Denroy Rowe, who was given temporary housing at the Manchester Infirmary, and Mr. Clifton McPherson, a street person.

The Minister said the men will be monitored weekly by the Poor Relief Department.

“We do not give them the units and leave them on their own. We have to ensure their safety otherwise they would be placed in the infirmaries and treated there so the houses are an extension of the infirmaries and we are committed to ensure that we maintain a very high standard,” he explained.

“We have more under construction and by August we would have completed the first round of 28 that were committed and then we will roll out more than 50 more across the country in the new financial year.”

To date, 11 housing solutions have been constructed under MSAP.

Mr. Rowe, who is also physically-challenged, was a loss for words.

“No one has to ask me if I love it (the house)…I feel it in my heart,” he said.