Jamaica Gleaner / Residents of the Old Harbour Bay community in St Catherine can now enjoy an array of benefits resulting from renovations to the Blackwood Gardens Community Centre, which has been closed for approximately 10 years after extensive damage by Hurricane Dean in 2007.
Engineer, Procurement and Construction (EPC) company from Spain, TSK Group provided materials and consultancy valued at US$130,000 to carry out the renovations.
The repairs, carried out since June 5 this year, included the installation of windows and doors alongside a brand new roof to replace the one damaged in 2007. The bathrooms were refurbished all with the help of 211 volunteers: 167 males and 44 females. Volunteers and skilled labourers on the project included electricians, plumbers, masons, carpenters, steel fitters, painters, welders and labourers from Old Harbour Bay. Others journeyed from other areas of Old Harbour such as Patrick Street, Bannister, as well as Freetown Clarendon and as far as St Elizabeth.
Speaking at the opening ceremony on Saturday, November 4 Ambassador Bessa, Jamaica Public Service Company’s (JPSCo) senior vice- president for generation, Joseph Williams, and project manager of TSK Group’s operations in Jamaica, Ruben Dario Romero, underscored the importance of nations and communities working together, corporate social responsibility and their expectations for the development of the Old Harbour Bay community.
“It’s a great day because this place [the community centre] became a reality. This is thanks to CDA, all the members of the community, Rev Sandra Nembhard, TSK, JPS, and so many others. All these people that I mentioned right now, to be honest, they never gave up. And this is one of the most important things in life. You never give up if you want to make the dream possible,” said TSK’s Romero.
Committed to project
According to Williams, TSK’s commitment to the project and the community will form part of the energy company’s consideration for future ventures.
“Any company that JPS works with, we encourage them to participate in the community; but I must say, TSK went way beyond what would normally be done, so we are very pleased with TSK,” Williams said. “I am also very impressed with the employment they have provided for this area. I am very sure that for future projects of this nature JPS will be considering TSK based on their performance to date.”
With 160 square metres added to the original structure, the community centre will facilitate more training in areas of welding, plumbing, drapery making, CXC classes, and for community activities.
Currently there are ongoing programmes of housekeeping, commercial food preparation and construction classes, Nembhard explained.
The occasion featured performances by the Old Harbour Bay Primary School, the Alpha All Star Band and Rae Town Old Hits as part of the entertainment package in an effort to affirm the occasion by showcasing Jamaican culture through dance.
The partnership between TSK and the Old Harbour Bay community began earlier this year when JPS subsidiary South Jamaica Power Company signed a contract with TSK for the construction of a highly anticipated 190- megawatt power plant in Old Harbour Bay. The power plant is expected to be in full operation by late 2019.