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Ministry of Local Government retains the Rural Development Programme

In keeping with the recent announcement by the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has been reverted to the Ministry of Local and Community Development (MLGCD).

The MLGCD will retain the Rural Development Programme (RDP) portfolio for which work is progressing on the pilot project in Chambers Pen, Hanover.

“In addition to the works being implemented during this $223 million pilot project, activities surrounding the Rural Development Programme will expand beyond Hanover this financial year,” Portfolio Minister, Honourable Desmond McKenzie disclosed in his Sectoral Presentation in the Houses of Parliament on May 30.

The communities of Cheswick, St. Thomas and Banks in Clarendon are set to benefit next from the RDP.

“As I indicated in my last presentation, work is in full progress at Chambers Pen in Hanover, the pilot for the Rural Development Programme. In addition to house wiring, roads, educational infrastructure and other amenities, the provision of potable water is a key feature of the project.”

Minister McKenzie also told the House that a $50m Chambers Pen Water Supply System was commissioned into service in February. As a result, some 1,500 persons in 300 households now have access to 52 thousand gallons of fresh water every day.

Approximately 360 black tanks were provided to households in the community, at a cost of $10m. Additionally, more than 200 houses were wired at a cost of $27m, and the Chambers Pen Basic School was rehabilitated at a cost of J$20 million.

“Tools and agricultural supplies were distributed to the farmers in this intensely agrarian community,” he added. “Ten million dollars was spent to construct two indigent houses, and two more are now being built, which will cost 18 million. Road repair and construction works are also being undertaken, at a cost of 84 million dollars.”

The RPD was announced by the Government in 2021 and I aimed at breathing new life into rural communities.

The Minister also noted that one of the important responsibilities that come with managing the local government system is the review of its strengths and weaknesses, and the determination of the measures that must be taken to make it stronger and better.

“After seven years that time has come, and in this respect, a special review mechanism is being developed, to involve representatives from a wide range of backgrounds, including former and current local government practitioners – to review and make recommendations. I will say more about this process in due course.”