Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to effectively utilize European Union (EU) funding support to implement programmes for which they are earmarked.
“We take seriously European taxpayers’ funds as we do Jamaican taxpayers’ money. The truth is, if we are spending resources, whether it is (an EU) grant or Jamaican taxes, we must ensure that we get value for money and that (projects) are effectively done,” Mr. Holness said.
He was addressing journalists following a tour of Denham Town in West Kingston with a delegation of visiting EU officials, headed by Director General, Stefano Manservisi, on Friday (February 2).
The delegation also included members of the EU office in Jamaica, Government officials and other key local stakeholders.
The tour provided the visitors with a first-hand view of the extent to which the Government is utilizing EU grant support in beneficiary communities like Denham Town.
They were also apprised of developments with the administration of the security and social intervention components in the Denham Town Zone of Special Operations (ZoSO).
Noting the EU’s substantial contributions to Jamaica’s development programmes annually, the Prime Minister said a significant portion of these investments has been in the areas of social development, targeting roads, schools and the administration of justice.
He further noted that the EU’s wide-ranging assistance was aligned with the strategy of the ZoSO, “which is not (solely) reliant on interventions by the security forces.”
“It shows that with good partners, such as the EU, working faithfully with us towards targeted objectives, we can achieve the goal of human development,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness said developments in the Denham Town ZoSO are examples of what can be achieved with social interventions and “strategically deployed and accountable” security forces.
“What we see happening in this very small area (is something) which we hope to be able to scale up rapidly and expansively over a short period of time…and that is being done. Inch by inch (and) minute by minute, Jamaica is coming to grips with its social issues and crime problems, and with the support that you (EU) are giving us, I am certain that we will overcome these,” the Prime Minister said.
“On behalf of the people of Jamaica, and in particular, the residents of Denham Town, who have benefitted from the support you have given, I want to say thank you,” he told the EU delegation.
For his part, Mr. Manservisi said he is happy with the developments in Denham Town, noting that “what you (Government) and the citizens are doing is fantastic.”
“I am very happy that we have contributed. We have seen positive outcomes and we will be happy to keep working with you,” he said.
European Union funding support to the country has totalled over €1.2 billion since the Jamaica-EU partnership commenced in 1975.