Mon | Feb 18, 2019

New drop-in facility opens in St Mary

Published:Wednesday | November 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer
The new drop-in facility in Port Maria, St Mary.

Port Maria, St Mary:

Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie last Thursday officially opened a state-of-the-art drop-in centre in Port Maria, St Mary, which is geared towards providing assistance to those in need of state care.

McKenzie, who was accompanied by Health Minister Christopher Tufton, also toured the facility just hours after the launch of Local Government and Community Month at Claude Stuart Park, Port Maria in St Mary.

"This facility will provide assistance to the less fortunate. They will be able to get warm meals, a bath, medical check-up and treatment, and a temporary rest. This is a much-needed facility for St Mary, which has over 500 persons who are provided for at the parish infirmary. The Government has responsibility for some 14,000 persons across the country. We take special care in ensuring, as an administration, that we do all that is necessary to take care of those who are poor and destitute, especially those living on the streets," McKenzie said.

According to him, there is a need to adopt a kind of joined-up approach to governance, which will make it more effective in offering the services that are required. He pointed out that Government has developed a greater understanding of what the social needs of the country are, and as such, they can now expand the vast opportunities geared at providing assistance to the needy and destitute.

"Since this administration came to office in 2016, we have spent in excess of $2.5 billion improving the lives of the poor and destitute across the country. I can say without any fear of contradiction that never before in the history of Jamaica has local government done so much to enhance the lives of the poor," McKenzie added.

The drop-in facility boasts male and female bathroom facilities, a medical office area, a kitchen, a washroom retrofitted with three washing machines, two overnight rooms, a dining room, and a living room area.

"The Ministry of Local Government will provide the funding to run the drop-in centre. We will pay the staff and provide the necessary facilities so that the centre will not run into any difficulty for lack of funding. This will be managed through the Poor Relief Department within the Ministry of Local Government," McKenzie said.

The facility, for which construction started in 2017, was built at a cost of approximately $12.5 million.