Jamaica: Repairs to 117 schools completed under Hurricane Dean contracts

KINGSTON (JIS): Tuesday, May 27, 2008

  • Some 117 of 139 contracts valued at $246 million, which were awarded to effect repairs to schools which sustained damage by hurricane Dean in August 2007, have been completed.

According to a Ministry Paper tabled in the House last week by Minister of Education, Andrew Holness, 518 institutions, inclusive of teachers' colleges, were assessed. However, only 507, at an approximate value of $700 million, were confirmed as having sustained damage.

Financial assistance totalling $42.2 million has been received from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in respect of 18 of the institutions completed. Some $35.7 million received from DFID will go toward 14 schools, while $6.5 million from USAID has been received for four schools. The remaining 22 awarded contracts are at varying stages of completion.

Meanwhile, 270 institutions have received grants totalling $84 million to effect full or partial repairs; 14 are being repaired by National Commercial Bank (NCB) at a cost of some $11 million; and 12 are being repaired by the Digicel Foundation at a cost of $20 million, the document notes.

The Ministry and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) are to repair 72 schools. However, these have not yet commenced due to what the Ministry Paper describes as a "protracted procurement process" due to the "funding arrangements" by the JSIF.

During the period April 2007 to March 2008, 120 contracts totalling $416 million were awarded for the provision of 123,785 pieces of furniture. According to the Ministry Paper, as at March 31, 2008, deliveries for 103 contracts were completed. Accordingly, deliveries for the remaining 17 contracts are scheduled to be completed during the first half of the current fiscal year. Deliveries have been completed on five of these contracts since April, with the remaining at advanced stages of completion.