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Gov’t to resettle 876 sugar estate residents

Sunday, September 30, 2012 | 3:17 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica - With divestment and a restructuring of Jamaica’s sugar industry now underway, the Government will have to resettle people living in estate barracks.

With that in mind, the Government says it has made provisions for the resettlement of some 876 residents of sugar estates across the country into approximately 400 housing solutions, at seven relocation sites in four parishes.  This is estimated to cost approximately $1.4 billion with assistance from the European Union (EU).

Speaking at a contract signing ceremony in Savanna-la-mar, Westmoreland, on September 28, for the construction of 33 housing solutions for sugar workers, at two locations in that parish, Agriculture minister Roger Clarke noted that the new settlements will include all the requisite social services and infrastructure.

“The new settlements to be developed will include schools, shops, markets, post offices, churches, playfields, industrial areas, community centres and police stations, where necessary,” he said adding that the relocation exercise is being supported by the EU..

Clarke added that rehabilitation and upgrading work will take place on two existing sports facilities within Westmoreland soon.  The upgrade will be executed on behalf of the Sports Development Foundation at a cost of approximately $23.5 million.

“In terms of social services, the Ministry (of Agriculture) will be making alternative arrangements to replace the Frome clinic, through the upgrading of the Georges Plain clinic.  We are also working to ensure the continuation of the Frome Preparatory School,” he said

Head of Operation, EU Delegation, Jesus Orus Baguena underscored the EU’s support for the Government and its social intervention efforts within the sugar sector.

He said that the new settlements for sugar workers, with their supporting social services, will be a vast improvement on what obtained in the barracks.

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