CDB and Jamaican government hand over Epworth Road to the community
The Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the Government of Jamaica on Friday officially handed over 3.1 km of rehabilitated road to the almost 200 persons living in the community of Epworth, St. Ann in Jamaica.
“I must commend the people of Epworth, for your determination in seeing this project through and your commitment to maintaining the road so both current and future generations can benefit from this investment,” said Mr. Isaac Solomon, Vice President, Operations at the CDB, in his remarks at the handover ceremony.
“It is one thing for CDB to provide the BNTF grant funds for the infrastructure, but it is the community’s buy-in that ensures sustainability. I know that this road is in good hands, and it is creating – and will continue to create – far-reaching benefits for the people of the community and other road users,” he said.
The CDB provided a grant of USD673,830 [JAD109 million (mn) dollars], through its Basic Needs Trust Fund, (BNTF) for the rehabilitation of the Epworth feeder road with the community providing their own contribution of J$4 mn. Eight drains were also constructed in addition to the road repairs.
“This is not just a road – ask anyone in Epworth – it is something that has brought transformation to their lives – there is now more investment in the community since the road,” said Mr. Omar Sweeney, Managing Director of the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) which implemented the project on behalf of the CDB.
In turn, Mr. Solomon indicated that since the road was rehabilitated three years ago there has been an increase of 25% in crop production, better access to education as the number of students attending the Epworth Primary school has also increased, among other impacts.
The impact of the road was also highlighted by Prime Minister Holness who commended the CDB for its role.
“Let me start my presentation by acknowledging the great work of the Caribbean Development Bank and the Basic Needs Trust Fund. Jamaica has been a founding member of the CDB, and we support the CDB in what it does. You would also have heard first-hand the satisfaction that the community has expressed re this road,” he said in his presentation at the ceremony while also highlighting the need for continued investment in Epworth and other communities.
In collaboration with JSIF, CDB has completed over 98 BNTF sub-projects in Jamaica with significant results. Under the recently concluded 9th Cycle of the BNTF, Jamaica was allocated grant resources totalling USD8.95 mn which financed twenty projects several of which had multiple positive effects on the education sector including reducing overcrowding in primary schools, improving the learning environment at a number of institutions, and strengthening the capacity of teachers and principals. Other local BNTF interventions served to enhance the livelihoods of farmers, upgrade tourism enterprises, improve access to rural communities; and increase access to safe water.
Through the 10th BNTF cycle, which was approved in 2021, Jamaica is receiving additional grant resources of some USD8.25 mnmn.