By the Caribbean Journal staff
Jamaica officially launched its JEEP emergency employment program in a ceremony Thursday afternoon in St Andrew.
Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller said she had instructed Ministers to “closely review” resources in their ministries and departments to identify potential sub-projects that could produce additional employment.
“Under the JEEP, unemployed individuals will get an opportunity to earn a livelihood, be able to send their children to school and assist in taking care of their sick family member,” she said. “But JEEP is about more than just getting a work. It is restoring the dignity of people.”
The first wave of projects include the cleaning and repair of the Standpipe Gully in Liguanea and train and road maintenance programmes in St Mary, Portland and St Catherine and St Ann under the umbrella of the Jamaica Development Inrastructure Programme.
Funds from the JDIP, which was originally financed with a $400 million loan facility from China, will be used for the project.
Alleged mismanagement of the JDIP led to the resignation of former Works Minister Mike Henry in November, a member of the previous Jamaica Labour Party administration.
According to a statement by Works Minister Omar Davies in January, $398 million of that number had already been spent on other projects. The government said at the time that JEEP would move forward regardless.
Simpson Miller said her government would aim to provide a high level of transparency and acceptability.
“While JEEP will provide short term employment, several of persons on the JEEP will have an opportunity to receive training through the HEART TRUST/NTA,” she said. “This will allow them to go onto bigger things when they leave the JEEP.”
Some of those people, she said, might launch their own businesses.