The Department of Local Government in collaboration with the St. James Parish Council, has successfully applied for and received financial assistance for six (6) Local Authorities to benefit under the European Union (EU) Banana Support Programme to the tune of $1.9m or approximately J$216m.
The grant was solicited to support the project/action entitled “The Rural Economic and Social Infrastructure Support Project for Jamaica” Traditional Banana Growing Parishes/Communities (RESISP). Communities in the six traditional banana growing parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, St. James, Clarendon and St. Catherine, will benefit directly from the project. Each council, in conjunction with the effected communities, will identify and design projects which will be implemented at the local level. The projects will address some of the economic fallout resulting from the discontinuation of the EU’s preferential Banana agreement with Jamaica.
The Parish Councils in each parish will be the main driving force behind the attainment of the agreed goals and objectives of the programme (RESISP), ensuring that staff representatives (from the Councils) are nominated for the planned training and development activities, implementing day-to-day activities, allocating pre-determined resources as budgeted; supporting the Project Management Unit in ensuring that the EU and Government of Jamaica procurement policies are adhered to, and providing technical support to the final beneficiaries.
The RESISP will address a number of issues including:
The lack of local level institutional capacity development which includes project support, implementation and oversight, Parish Council and local sustainable development planning, and Community Based Organizations/Representative Groups.
The inability to afford usually expensive capital-intensive targeted engineering works, Construction/Rehabilitation of Community Economic Infrastructure and Facilities for Sustainable Livelihood Social and Economic Reintegration Support Programmes.
Community Based Organizations’ (CBO) inability to implement targeted economic enhancement sub-projects.
Some of the stipulations of the grant agreement are that all projects must be completed within eighteen (18) months and the St. James Parish Council is required to provide the EU with interim reports (as well as a final report) providing a full account of all aspects of the action’s implementation. The agreement was signed by the Secretary/Manager of the St. James Parish Council, and the EU Representative with endorsement by the PIOJ on December 23 2008.
A formal signing ceremony takes place on March 11, 2009 at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay.