Three months since ground was broken on the J$534.9 million Montego Bay Fire Station on Barnett Street in St. James, Desmond McKenzie, the Minister of Local Government and Community Development has expressed his delight with the pace of the construction work on the project.
He said the work being carried out on the project is way ahead of its projected schedule and will be delivered within budget.
“My understand after speaking with Mr. [Omar] Sweeny and the Mayor (Homer Davis) is that the project is running ahead of schedule, coming in on budget and is expected to be completed on time using the same budget that has been projected,” McKenzie said in an interview with BUZZ during a tour of the construction site Thursday (Sept. 12).
The project which is being carried out by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) under its Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Programme is slated to be completed in a 12 month period.
“There is no denying that over the years the [Jamaica Fire] Brigade lacked the kind of support to give it what is needed.”— Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development
I was not here at the groundbreaking but I have been talking about it since I became a minister in 2016 – this vision has finally become a reality…we are here now and once the facility is completed, it will solve the problems here in Montego Bay, [in fact] not only in Montego Bay but in the western part of the island,” said McKenzie.
The building that once housed the Montego Bay Fire Station was 50 years old when it was closed and demolished in 2006 after it was deemed to be structurally unsound.
“There is no denying that over the years the [Jamaica Fire] Brigade lacked the kind of support to give it what is needed. (However) since this administration came in 2016, we have spent close to J$800-milliion on improving the Jamaica Fire Brigade, not just in terms of building out facilities, but providing vital equipment to the men and women of the Jamaica Fire Brigade,” McKenzie noted.
“…we have spent close to J$800-milliion on improving the Jamaica Fire Brigade”— Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development
“This is the first of three new facilities that will be constructed, I am pleased to say that the fire station for Port-Maria work will commence on that by the end of October and Cabinet just recently approved the contract for the construction of the one in Yallahs, St. Thomas and we are expecting that by the end of the calendar year next year (2020) the country will have three brand new facilities to aid the fire-men and women across the country,” he added.