KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica is to benefit from US$4.3 million in grant funding under cycle six of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF6), which is scheduled to commence in mid 2010.
The allocation is part of a provision of more than US$51 million, being made available under BNTF6, to the 10 Caribbean borrowing member countries (BMC) of the CDB.
The facility was officially launched during a brief ceremony at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Monday (March 16), during which Finance and Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, and Director of the CDB’s Projects Department, Carlson Gough, signed a commitment agreement for Jamaica’s allocation.
Hon. Audley Shaw
The programme, which commenced some 24 years ago as the Basic Human Needs/Employment Sector Programme, assists low income communities in BMC territories to plan and implement projects, which will enhance access to essential social and economic services, and provide opportunities for skills development, thus enhancing beneficiaries’ employability.
BNTF6 is scheduled to commence in mid 2010, coinciding with the conclusion of the fifth cycle, from which Jamaica has also benefited, with projects being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Addressing the ceremony, Mr. Shaw noted that the signing brought to approximately US$9 million, the amount of funds, which Jamaica has received under the facility. He noted that to date, 22 projects have been implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), “across a wide area of social need”.
These include the rehabilitation of inner-city schools, and other institutions such as the Homestead Place of Safety in St. Catherine, and Point Hill Remedial Centre in Clarendon, under BNTF5, which is currently underway.
Mr. Gough, in his remarks, stated that BNTF6 marked the “full admittance” of Jamaica to the programme. He said that the country’s involvement in BNTF5 was made possible through the generosity of the Government of Canada through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Canadian High Commissioner to Jamaica, Denis Kingsley, said that Canada was pleased to be a contributor to the BNTF, and the success of the projects in Jamaica, prompted an additional contribution of CAD $1.85 million to the fifth cycle. Canada is also supporting the sixth cycle through a contribution to the special development fund, established by the CDB.
Chairman of JSIF and Director General of the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Dr. Wesley Hughes, noted that Jamaica has benefited from numerous programmes similar to the BNTF, through its collaboration with the CDB.
Against the background of the new cycle to come on stream, he gave the assurance that the agency would endeavour to implement projects to be undertaken, on time and within stipulated guidelines.