In addition, he said, the restructuring seeks to position Jamaica to earn more from cocoa by way of value-added initiatives. The Jamaican product, commonly referred to as ‘chocolate’, has for years been ranked among the top five fine-flavoured cocoas in the world. It is used by some of the largest players in the global industry, such as Hersheys, with little of the credit or income going to Jamaica.
With the local cocoa industry set to rebound, small farmers must position themselves to take advantage of the restructuring, Montague insisted.
He also used the occasion to remind residents of Richmond Road, Cane Heap, and Goat Hill of their obligation to pay the flat rate of $800 a month for water.
“The return on the investment is for you to pay your bills so the council can get more money and can go to other communities and give them water as well,” the minister said in his address.
Continuing, he said: “You must remember that now that you have water at home, you have to pay for it. Remember when the month-end come, go pay the parish council what them must get because the system has to be maintained.”
The project, which involved the enhancement of storage/catchment tanks and construction of a more secure chlorination chamber on land belonging to the Surju family, was a joint project between the Government of Jamaica and the European Union. The St Mary Parish Council was the implementing partner on the project for which the National Water Commission provided technical advice.
Some $843,549 came from the European Union to construct the catchment/storage tanks, with Member of Parliament for South East St Mary, Tarn Peralto, contributing $289,380 from his Constituency Development Fund.