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St James corporation to hand out $6.8m in back-to-school help

Published:Thursday | August 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMAdrian Frater
Desmond McKenzie


The St James Municipal Corporation has made provisions for the councillors aligned to the corporation to expend approximately $6.8 million to assist constituents with back-to-school purchases.

According to Montego Bay's mayor, Councillor Homer Davis, each councillor has been allocated a total of $400,000 under the Municipal Social Assistance Programme/Fund to help families.

"This recent allocation to each councillor - $300,000 from the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development and $100,000 from the St James Municipal Corporation - has empowered us a great deal," said Davis. "The amount is far in excess of what was previously disbursed in times past."

He believes that the much-welcomed gesture will benefit over 2,000 youth with direct financial assistance. According to him, the funds will provide the councillors with a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the lives of their constituents.

The Municipal Social Assistance Programme/Fund, which was launched in June 2017, is an initiative of the Ministry of Local Government. It has four components - Office/Administrative Support to Divisions, Social Housing Assistance, Indigent Housing Assistance, and a Funeral and Education Grant. The funds will be disbursed under the education grant, which is structured to help with school supplies, uniforms, exams, auxiliary and registration fees.

Based on a pronouncement from Local Government Minister Desmond McKenzie earlier this year, steps have been taken by his ministry to ensure that initiatives like the Municipal Social Assistance Programme/Fund are free from abuse by undeserving persons.