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US$42 Million loan to benefit 18 communities across Jamaica

Published:Saturday | March 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM

YORK TOWN, Clarendon:

THE JAMAICA Social Investment Fund (JSIF) on Thursday launched its Integrated Community Development Fund (ICDP) at the York Town Primary School in Clarendon.

The project, which will benefit 18 communities across the island (four from Clarendon), is facilitated by a loan from the World Bank to the tune of US$42 million.

The ICDP is about promoting public safety and transformation through delivering basic infrastructure and social services in the selected communities.

Speaking at the launch, JSIF's managing director designate Omar Sweeney said the project would be seeking to promote public safety.

"A major leg will be the improvement of access to basic infrastructure such as roads, storm water drainage, sewage, water supply, household sanitation connections, and zinc fence replacement," he said, adding that the project would also provide a range of social interventions, including after-school educational and recreation projects.

The York Town community and environs experienced a great deal of crime upheaval, with up to 100 persons being murdered in the last 10 years. Many have also lost their homes after being burnt out.

Crime rate down

Things took a turn for the better three years ago with social intervention programmes, with the president for the association, David Brown, pointing out that since the start of this year, there had been no report of major and violent crime in the community.

"Murder has dropped from about 80 to two in the last three years. We intervened with sports programmes, working, talking, and showing that there is no need to fight each other," said Brown.

He welcomed the initiative from the JSIF, adding that he looked forward to job creation from the project as "the devil finds work for idle hands".

The other three communities in Clarendon that will be involved in the project are Treadlight, Curatoe Hill, and Canaan Heights.

Projects to come on stream will be the extension of the electricity network and the regularisation of illegal connections, the construction of community-integrated spaces, and training of community mediators, violence-prevention programmes in schools, and maintenance training and facilities management.