Woman, 63, overcome with joy as she gets new home
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) presents 63-year-old Meakrose Robinson of Berlin district, St Elizabeth, with the keys to her new home, which was built under Government's New Social Housing Programme. The two-bedroom unit, constructed at a cost of approximately $5.8 million, was handed over on Friday. (Photo: JIS)

MONTEGO BAY, St James - Meakrose Robinson of Berlin District in Southeast St Elizabeth was overcome with joy when she received the keys to her new home from Prime Minister Andrew Holness last Friday.

The 63-year-old farmer is the latest beneficiary under Government's New Social Housing Programme (NSHP).

The two-bedroom structure was constructed at a cost of approximately $5.8 million.

Robinson had been living in a one-room structure with her daughter and three grandchildren for about 10 years. The family used an outside kitchen and bathroom, and the zinc roofing of the house was old and lifting in many sections.

Speaking with JIS News, Robinson expressed gratitude for her new home, which, she said, will provide protection from hurricane.

"I welcome this. I am overjoyed to get this lovely house because every day I say if a hurricane comes what am I going to do; I have nowhere to go if the house top blows off. But thanks be to God, he sent me a lovely home," she said.

Robinson told JIS News that her dream of owning a home became a reality after her plight was brought to the attention of Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth Southeast and minister of state in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Frank Witter.

"I give God thanks to the person that introduced me to Mr Frank Witter and from there, my need was shared with Mr Andrew Holness. So, to every one of them I give them a big thank you. Even the contract workers and everyone who put their hands together for this to make me a home," she said.

In a brief address, Prime Minister Holness said that the NSHP is being executed with the utmost transparency, noting that robust social investigation is conducted to identify beneficiaries of the social housing initiative.

He said that the units are being built at the highest standard.

"No one can say that the person receiving the house is not deserving of the benefit, that the process by which the selection is done isn't one that is integrous and one that is very robust in terms of the social investigations done," he noted.

"There can be no criticisms, no complaints of any inefficiency of any form, misallocation or any form of maladministration or misadventure with funds that are used. It is a very well-run programme, and I am happy to be associated with it. The greatest pride and happiness that I take is to share in the joy of persons receiving [the units]," Holness added.

The NSHP was established by the prime minister in 2018 to improve the housing condition of the country's poor and disadvantaged population by providing quality, affordable and sustainable housing.

The programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, through the Housing, Production, and Employment Programme (HOPE).

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