FALMOUTH, Trelawny — Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie says a renovation exercise valued at over $13 million is being undertaken at the Trelawny Infirmary, which now houses just under 100 residents.
The scope of the project includes improvement to the male ward, the recreational area and the kitchen.
Last week, staff members of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation (TMC) were joined by McKenzie and state minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development Homer Davis, along with mayors from across the island, in carrying out a major facelift at the facility.
The workday formed part of abridged Local Government and Community Development Month activities, which got underway with a church service in the parish days before.
Underscoring Government's commitment to providing support for the indigent, the local government and rural development minister disclosed that about $700 million has been spent on social facilities, including infirmaries, since the Andrew Holness-led Jamaica Labour Party formed the Government in 2016.
“Today we are carrying out extensive repairs here at the Trelawny Infirmary. One of the features that we have been using in upgrading the infirmaries over the last two years is what we call a therapeutic park. And if you look across there you will see the therapeutic park. The purpose of this area is to allow the residents to come out, those who are not bed-ridden, that they can move about, so they have an area where they can sit, they can enjoy nature. And we are going to put in a fountain that will provide some kind of a relief,” McKenzie told the gathering.
And intimating that infirmaries were neglected prior to McKenzie being at the helm of the portfolio ministry in 2016, Davis lauded the local government and rural development minister for his unflinching support for the needy. The state minister argued that he also has “a passion for those who have fallen on hard times and who cannot fend for themselves”.
“I think he [McKenzie] is here at the right time and at the right place because over the years the infirmaries were treated as if it were some forgotten place. But since this new Administration came in we have taken a different approach and you hear the amount of money that is being spent. New buildings have been built right across the island to accommodate our people,” Davis argued.
“With a caring Government we will not allow our people to fall by the wayside. And as Minister [McKenzie] said we are steadfast, we are focused in making sure that Trelawny and all other infirmaries across the island are well-kept, well-managed for the betterment of our people.”
Chairman of the TMC and mayor of Falmouth Councillor C Junior Gager also expressed his gratitude for Minister McKenzie's support.
“Thank you, Minister, for again looking out for Trelawny and making sure that our infirmary is in a state that is befitting this parish,” said Gager, adding that he was of the belief that the creation of the therapeutic park will be well-received by the residents.
McKenzie explained that the novel coronavirus pandemic curtailed what used to be a month-long celebration of Local Government and Community Month activities this year.
Apart from the church service and workday at the infirmary, the week of activities in Trelawny also featured a youth mayors' Forum, held at the town hall at the municipal corporation building. McKenzie was impressed with the youth mayors' presentations.
“Normally, we would have had a month of activities surrounding local government, but as I said before, we have restricted the activities to selected programmes. We started the celebrations with a church service here in Falmouth last Sunday and we are here this (last Thursday) morning following yesterday's successful staging of the mayors' youth forum that left me in a situation where I can only describe yesterday's performance of the junior mayors as exceptional,” McKenzie shared.