The Jamaica Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) is investing a little under $J1 billion for the Resort Squatter Settlements Upgrade Project for the community of Grange Pen in St. James.
The Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) will oversee the infrastructural upgrade for the regularization of 535 households in the community. This is equivalent to approximately 8000 square feet per lot.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the project on March 29, Tourism Minister and Member of Parliament for the area, Hon. Edmund Bartlett said the project was started in 2010 as part of the then Government’s mission to provide housing solutions for workers in the tourism industry through the TEF.
“We are going to be building a level of development that you have never seen before in this parish…We have proposals for participants, RFPs [request for proposals]out for public-private participation for us to build those houses for the people – primarily workers of the tourism industry,” said the Minister.
The general scope of works, which will take place over a 24-month period, includes: road scribing and paving, draining infrastructure, construction of a sewage treatment plant, water supply connection to the National Water Commission, electricity distribution, and land titling.
A highway will also be created from Grange Pen through Barrett Hall to Greenwood, signaling the next phase of the development for the area. The Minister also shared that upon completion, the community of Grange Pen will be renamed.
In his first ever public address as Minister of Economic Growth and Job Creation, with responsibility for housing, Senator the Hon. Pearnel Charles Junior added that, “it is perhaps everyone’s dream to own their own home…It is my responsibility now to be the one to ensure that I drive the processes of accountability to make sure that we are providing the housing that is necessary to all communities across this country.”
He also stated that it is the Government’s goal to provide for low to middle income earners by “giving them improved access to mortgages, so that they can be able to go through the financing that is required to access the housing that will be provided across communities.”
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The Tourism Minister also announced that a major development is in the works for Lilliput which will have significant economic benefits for the people in Montego Bay.
“We have concluded much discussions, the purchase of the land has been completed in phase 1 and phase 2 is also being completed with the Rolling’s family. We will have close to 4000 additional rooms which will require a level of service from the people in this area.
The way forward for us is an integrated, involved and inclusive tourism where the hotel developments and the communities are going to be one in the same,” said Minister Bartlett.
Chairman of the HAJ Norman Brown and Councillor Anthony Murray from the St James Municipal Corporation welcomed the development project in Grange Pen as in important initiative which will drastically transform the community.
As part of efforts to improve the look and feel of the product, the Ministry of Tourism, through the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) has so far invested J$6 billion in Montego Bay and its environs. The work carried out by the TEF includes road rehabilitation, drain cleaning and housing solutions.