The Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) officially broke ground for implementation of the Safe Passage Project at the Roehampton Primary School in St. James, on Thursday (July 28).
The project is being funded by the Government at a cost of $20 million and is expected to be completed in October of this year.
The Safe Passage Project aims to provide a safe environment for students as they traverse specific streets and bus stops that are surrounding, near to or on school campuses, as well as comprehensive public education and road-safety programmes to include staff, students and residents.
Scope of work for the project will include the construction of a sidewalk, bus stop, guardrails, U-drain/box culvert, 190 metres of fencing, traffic signals and pedestrian crossing.
The project forms part of JSIF’s Integrated Community Development Project – Phase 2 (ICDP II).
In his remarks, Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Homer Davis, who is also Member of Parliament for St. James Southern, thanked JSIF for implementing the project in Roehampton.
“School should be a safe space for all, not only for learning but also for play. When they (children) step out on the road, the necessary road and school signs must be there to protect them,” Mr. Davis said.
“The partnership between JSIF and these local schools couldn’t come at a better time, and I know the teachers and the students are very happy for this project. It is a project that is very far-reaching, very profound and it will uplift the way people behave,” he added.
For her part, Senior Manager of Social Development at JSIF, Mona Sue Ho, said that the project is for “our children and for our future. They deserve to work in the future, but for now as they are in school, they deserve the best possible learning environment, and they also deserve to get to school safely and to go back home to their parents and guardians safely”.
She added that the agency will also be working with the Ministry of Transport and Mining to have road-safety clubs in Roehampton Primary.
Principal of Roehampton Primary, Dane Julius, expressed gratitude to JSIF for the project.
“The safety of our children is of extreme importance to all of us, especially in a time when there are so many accidents on our roadways. This Safe Passage Project will not just cater to the students and staff at Roehampton Primary but will extend to other pedestrians who will [traverse] the roadway in this vicinity,” he said.
The project is set to benefit some 120 students, seven teachers and two auxiliary staff members of the school.