Several infrastructural projects are in progress across the island, with many being undertaken through the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme (JEEP).
These projects include, but are not limited to: road repairs; bushing of roads; bridge repairs; and the cleaning and maintenance of drains and gullies.
The National Works Agency (NWA) has been instrumental in overseeing the projects and has employed numerous persons in various capacities, among them 35 individuals who have gained employment as supervisors.
Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Director, Regional Implementation and Special Projects, NWA, George Knight, said the supervisors ensure that the work being implemented is done to the agency’s specification.
He said based on the nature of the projects, most persons have received short term employment, although some have had the opportunity to work for more than three months.
“In terms of the National Works Agency, we employ people on a short term basis and we employ people on a long term basis, in that we may employ people for a contract that could last three months, six months or a year, depending on the size and complexity of the job,” he pointed out.
Mr. Knight said given the fact that JEEP in underway in all parishes, employment opportunities have been provided in several areas, especially to oversee the jobs at hand.
“JEEP cuts across the entire 63 constituencies that we have in Jamaica and a lot of the JEEP projects that are done are smaller projects….and to execute or implement (these) projects across the island, small though they may be, it means that we would need additional staffing for measurements and verification of quantities,” he added.
Mr. Knight informed that the feedback has shown that persons are grateful to have received employment under JEEP.
“I think that anybody who gets a job in Jamaica, irrespective of how short term it may be, I think it is something that is welcomed, and through the JEEP initiative, not only the people that are employed through the National Works Agency, but people in general across the country….the feedback has been very positive,” he said.
Projects have been completed in sections of: St. Catherine East Central; St. Catherine South West; St. Catherine South Central; St. Catherine North Central; St. Ann South Eastern; St. Ann North West; St. Andrew North West; St. Andrew East Rural; St. Andrew North Central; St. Andrew Western; Kingston Western; and Clarendon Northern.
Projects are ongoing in: Clarendon South West; Clarendon Central; Clarendon South East; Clarendon North Central; Clarendon North West; Hanover Western; Kingston Central; Kingston East and Port Royal; Manchester North East; Manchester South; Manchester North West; Portland Eastern; St. Andrew South Eastern; St. Andrew Eastern; St. Andrew East Central; St. Andrew Southern; St. Andrew West Rural; St. Andrew South Western; and St. Ann South West.
Also in progress are projects in St. Ann North East; St. Catherine Southern; St. Catherine North West; St. Catherine West Central; St. Catherine North East; St. Catherine South Eastern; St. Catherine Central; St. Catherine Eastern; St. Elizabeth South East; St. Elizabeth North West; St. Elizabeth South West; St. Elizabeth North East; St. James North West; St. James South; St. James East Central; St. James Central;
St. Mary Central; St. Mary South Eastern; St. Mary Western; St. Thomas Western; Westmoreland Eastern; Westmoreland Central.
The JEEP is one of the strategies of the Government to respond to chronic unemployment among some Jamaicans, particularly those in lower socio-economic groups, persons with special needs, as well as those with low skill levels.
During phase one of JEEP, which ended recently, approximately 15,000 persons were employed in several Ministries and Agencies, undertaking tasks in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and intensive labour.
For phase two, $6 billion has been earmarked to be spent on projects in the Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries; Labour and Social Security; and Housing; HEART Trust/NTA and the National Housing Trust (NHT), among others.
It is projected that some 35,000 persons will be employed during this phase of the programme.