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Ground has been officially broken for the construction of a female Ward at the St. James infirmary in Albion, Montego Bay.

The St. James Municipal Council, which is spearheading the initiative, has already raised J$10 million of the projected $28 million to complete the works.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Denzil Thorpe, delivered a strident appeal to corporate Jamaica and philanthropic citizens for sponsorship to raise a portion of the remaining $18 million required to construct the ward. “It is a price worth paying for the benefit of completing a project that will emphasize the human face of Montego Bay and its environs. This ceremony is a great reminder that this is not just a tourism centre. There are great institutions here, and great individuals here, who are passionate about the welfare of human beings in their own right.”

In his address, Mayor of Montego Bay, Councillor Glendon Harris explained that over the last two years, women at the infirmary, which sits on a six-acre property, had to be housed in the chapel and storeroom due to the derelict state of the female ward which was built over a century ago.

Construction of the new ward is expected to be completed in 18 months.

On completion, the Ward will have 11 triple occupancy rooms; bathroom facilities, common areas, an examination room and a Reception Area.

The Infirmary currently accommodates 48 male and 12 female residents.