Hope for Hurlock - NAJASO to complete empowerment centre
HURLOCK, St James - THE National Association of Jamaica and Supportive Organisations (NAJASO) has promised to assist with the completion of the Hurlock Youth Empowerment and Life Changing Centre.
Work on the facility began more than two years ago on two acres of land in the deep rural community of Hurlock in East Central St James, but a lack of funds has slowed construction of the building.
So far, some $5 million has been expended on the project, initiated by well-known St James medical practitioner Dr Doris Channer-Watson.
Another $30 million, she said, is needed to complete the much-needed facility.
The works undertaken to date include the erection of walls for the centre, a small room and a cafeteria.
A bathroom out-fitted in a trailer container has also been completed.
Last week, President of NAJASO Roy Davidson told the Observer West that his association will assist the residents in completing the facility.
"We will undertake the cost for the material, but we are not willing to pay for labour when there are labourers in the community. We need to get the community to come in to offset the labour costs, because labour costs can be very high," Davidson argued.
Hugh Fagan, who sits on Member of Parliament for East Central St James, Edmund Bartlett's constituency executive — in whose area the project falls -- said Bartlett's office will ensure that the necessary labour is provided to complete the project.
"We are going to be instrumental in ensuring labour is here and ready. When we hear NAJASO say they are going to give us 100 per cent of the building supplies, from paints to everything that needs to get this thing (the centre) done, we have to jump on board quickly, because resources are thin and there are lots of other places that need support," Fagan explained.
Calls for community participation in the project have been supported by Donald Anderson and several other area residents.
"I would like to be the watchman to watch the material them, because I would like to see it (the project) go a far way...paint up and look nice," he stressed.
At present, the unfinished building is used for a homework centre and for Sunday School.
Channer-Watson saids he expects the building to be completed early next year.
"We have got to put the roof on, tile, put an area at the back for the kids, bathroom facilities for the pre-school... all of this we would love to do over the next nine months," said the medical practitioner, who is also a vice-president for NAJASO Jamaica and the Caribbean.
She added that the facility, on completion, will house an expanded homework centre, a pre-school, a skills training centre and a day-care centre.
The centre, she said, too, will also be accessible to persons who want to stage social events.
NAJASO, founded by His Excellency Ambassador Alfred A Rattray in 1977, is an umbrella organisation of over 150 members in the USA, Bermuda and Jamaica tasked with the primary goal of serving Jamaicans at home and Jamaican nationals in the USA in many different capacities.