The successful transformation of depressed communities in Jamaica can serve as an example for the World Bank to replicate in Latin America and other Caribbean countries.
World Bank Vice President for Latin America and the Caribbean, Carlos Felipe Jaramillo, said during a visit to the community of Barrett Town in St James, who benefited from the Integrated Community Development Project (ICDP).
Funded by the bank to the tune of $42 million, the project enabled the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) to transform the lives of people in 18 communities across Jamaica, including four in St James.
Jaramillo and a team from the World Bank were in Jamaica for a retreat last weekend and took the time to visit several projects in the once troubled community of Barrett Town.
The ICDP is designed to improve access to basic infrastructure and services as well as to increase community safety through targeted and comprehensive violence prevention programs.
In Barrett Town, residents are now benefiting from the construction of green spaces, zinc fencing replacement projects, better solid waste management, recycling initiatives and road rehabilitation.
Improvements were also made to drainage and water supply, as well as the rehabilitation of the 50-year-old Barrett Town All Age School, which included the establishment of a greenhouse.
Residents have also participated in several training and certification initiatives.
“On behalf of the World Bank, I’m very confident after seeing what we’ve seen here in Barrett Town, it’s money well spent,” Jaramillo said.
“I spoke to several members of the community [and] they tell me that the improvements have contributed significantly to the well-being of the community, not only the school but also the rehabilitation of the roads.
“The environment is now a peaceful community. I think it’s wonderful. We have a lot to learn from these good experiences and partnerships with Jamaica, JISF and the World Bank. And we would love to take some of those lessons across Jamaica, the Caribbean and other Latin American countries,” Jaramillo told reporters.
Furthermore, he said that the World Bank and the government are currently in dialogue on several other projects and programs that may have positive results.
Anchovy, Salt Spring and Granville are the other communities in St James where residents’ lives are transforming.