In Montserrat, CDB Paves the Way for Better Access to Basic Services

For many years, the residents of Barzey’s Village in Montserrat had just a small gravel road connecting them to schools, public transportation and jobs.

Soil erosion and heavy rainfall made road conditions worse. As a result, residents didn’t have regular garbage pickups and when there was an emergency, it was hard for health and fire services to get into their neighbourhood.

Last week signaled a turning point for Barzey’s Village when a new safe, high-quality, all-weather road, built through support from the Basic Needs Trust Fund (BNTF) 7th Programme and the Government of Montserrat, was handed over during an official ceremony on Tuesday, August 25.

Ministers of Government, including Premier, Hon. Donaldson Romeo, BNTF representatives and residents of Barzey’s Village attended the handover event.

“Improving roads is one way to link communities to better economic opportunities and social services. An investment in the Barzey’s Community Road Rehabilitation helps pave the way for the advancement of the residents who live there,” said Darran Newman, BNTF Portfolio Manager, Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).

The sub-project has improved 833 meters of roads, which are also now wider and thicker, and feature a proper drainage system to help the community better withstand the impact of heavy rainfall.

CDB contributed a grant of USD320,000 to the total sub-project cost of USD337,000. The Government of Montserrat supported the initiative with a contribution of USD17,000.

Community groups identified the road rehabilitation sub-project and the intervention was supported by the Ministry of Communication, Works and Labour. The Barzey’s Community Road Rehabilitation is funded under the seventh BNTF programme cycle for which the overall grant amount for Montserrat is USD1.758 million.

Barzey’s Village in St. Johns parish is located in the Centre East District of Montserrat. In 2011, the community recorded a poverty rate of 32 percent and an unemployment rate of 8 percent, just below the national average of 9 percent.

The Barzey’s Community Road Rehabilitation sub-project aligns with the Government of Montserrat’s Sustainable Development Plan 2008-2020, which states as one of its economic management goals, creating “an environment that fosters prudent economic management, sustained growth, a diversified economy and the generation of employment opportunities.”

BNTF funding is provided to support interventions in 10 participating countries with financing mainly from the Special Development Fund (Unified) of CDB and counterpart financing from participating Governments.

Residents of Barzey’s Village attend the official handover ceremony for the Barzey’s Community Road Rehabilitation sub-project on Tuesday, August 25, 2015 in Montserrat. (Photo: ZJB – Radio Montserrat)

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