There is now renewed hope for residents of the Kennedy Grove Housing Scheme in Palmers Cross, Clarendon. This follows a tour of the scheme by Minister without Portfolio the Hon. Dr. Morais Guy on Friday July, 5, 2013. Minister Guy, who has portfolio responsibility for housing, was accompanied by Mayor of May Pen Cllr. Scean Barnswell and Acting Chief Technical Director (Housing) Mrs. Doreen Prendergast. There were also technical personnel on hand from the Ministry as well as from the Clarendon Parish Council.

As a joint venture scheme, established some fourteen years ago with 220 slated housing solutions, Kennedy Grove has seen its fair share of flooding due partly to infrastructural woes over the years. Among some of the issues are inadequate drainage, an obsolete sewage treatment system and deplorable roads.

Minister Guy visited the scheme to get a first-hand view of the residents’ concerns and to assess how to treat with them. The hour long tour saw the Minister inspecting the drain and sewage facilities, examining the road conditions and having informal discourse with residents.

While acknowledging the anxieties of the residents with regard to the infrastructural issues within the scheme, the Minister disclosed that priority will be given to addressing the sewage system in the medium term. The Ministry has already engaged engineers and has consulted with relevant agencies for the development of new design for the sewage system. Expenditure estimates have also been generated. Minister Guy said he was committed to improving the lives of the residents as the Ministry embarks on a push to conclude several joint venture projects across the country.

Still in the parish, following his tour of Kennedy Grove, Minister Guy and the team then journeyed to the informal settlement of Rasta Corner in Sandy Bay. There he met with residents to discuss plans for the regularisation of the area. This would be prefaced by a social survey of the community with the construction of roads and the distribution of land titles to come afterwards. In the interim, the Minister also spoke to plans to have the residents lease the land in an effort to facilitate the provision of electricity to the settlement. He further charged them not to allow or encourage an expansion of the population in the area while the Ministry undertakes to regularise those now residing there. For their part, residents expressed optimism with the Minister’s pronouncements and assured they will adhere to the expectations.

From there, it was then on to the Ministry’s regional office in May Pen. Minister Guy said he was pleased with the work being carried out by the office which is responsible for the administrative functions associated with the Ministry’s housing projects in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth.

Friday’s tour follows Minister Guy’s Sectoral Debate presentation where he highlighted the need to settle outstanding infrastructure works in several joint venture developments and turn them over to the local authorities. Other joint venture communities that will get the attention of the Ministry during this fiscal year include Bushy Park in North West St. Catherine, Iterborale in St. Mary and Industry Pen, also in St. Mary.