GROUND was broken last Thursday for the construction of a $7.5 million matron’s quarters at the St Elizabeth Infirmary in Santa Cruz.
According to a news release from the State-run Jamaica Information Service (JIS), the facility will cover an area of 920 square feet, will comprise three bedrooms and feature concrete foundations, reinforced block walls, slab roofing, ceramic tiles and louvre windows.
“Construction will take six months, starting Monday, June 27, and will be done by Tropical Metal Construction and Equipment Company,” the JIS said.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony, Robert Montague, the minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for local government, said that there are approximately 1,500 residents in infirmaries islandwide, all with different needs.
“They (the infirmaries) were originally designed to house the elderly who have fallen upon hard times. But the reality that we find today is that inside our infirmaries are the elderly, the mentally challenged, the physically challenged, some that have no challenge but have nowhere to go,” the JIS quoted Montague.
He emphasised that the responsibility for caring for people has become a part of the local government reform process, where the onus is placed on respective parish councils to demonstrate their caring side. However, he pointed out that taking care of the poor is not the sole responsibility of the Government, but also the responsibility of the community and the society as a whole.
Montague said, too, that because of the wide cross-section of persons now occupying infirmaries, the Department of Local Government has undertaken, through the Board of Supervision and in partnership with HEART/NTA, the training of persons in the fundamentals of caregiving. To date, 11 persons have benefited from that training.
He said the department is undertaking incremental improvements to all infirmaries.
The Jamaica Observer