US$46m Christmas ‘gift’ for Jamaica

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, December 24, 2007 – Jamaica is receiving up to US$20.5 million to assist with recovery from Hurricane Dean.

The Caribbean Development Bank said the loan is to help in the financing of rehabilitation works in areas of the transport sector affected by the category four hurricane in August this year as well as subsequent heavy rainfall that affected the country between August and November.

The funds will be used for the construction of sea defences and associated dune re-nourishment works along a section of the Norman Manley Highway on the Palisadoes peninsula; rehabilitation and drainage works to main roads including Port Royal Street, Michael Manley Boulevard, and May Pen to Sour Sop Turn, and drainage works on the upper reaches of the Rio Minho.

Play videoJim Edds video of the aftermath of Hurricane Dean in Jamaica

The bank has also approved a loan of up to US$25.868 million to the government for the expansion of facilities and upgrading of services at the University of Technology (UTech).

The project, which will provide for the construction of labs, classrooms, and lecture theatres, will help to alleviate the current overcrowding at the institution.

When completed, the bank said it will allow the university to expand and diversify its programme offerings and to accommodate more than 3,800 additional students annually.

There are also allocations for staff development which will allow for the upgrading of staff skills, and 90 staff members will be given scholarships to pursue either a master’s or doctoral programme.

Part of the funds is also to improve administration facilities and systems.

The bank did not reveal the terms and conditions of the two loans.