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China to assist with Belleisle Community Centre

The Community Centre at Belleisle in St David is undergoing a major transformation after it was badly damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has announced that the government of China has agreed to offer financial assistance to help in rebuilding a small community centre at Belleisle in his St David constituency.

Addressing a Town Hall meeting at the Westerhall Secondary School (WSS) in St David last Wednesday night, the Prime Minister noted that during the campaign for the June 23, 2022 general election he was informed that residents at Belleisle wanted help in re-opening the community centre that was damaged by the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

He said the building is owned by the Roman Catholic Church but is in need of significant infrastructure work.

He stated that as soon as he became the Member of Parliament for the constituency after the election “we wrote and asked the Catholic Church for permission to renovate the building.”

According to PM Dickon Mitchell, the Catholic Church which is headed by Bishop Clyde Harvey granted the permission but there was no allocation in the 2023 budget to finance the project.

“We approached the People’s Republic of China and the Ambassador gratefully agreed to help us get funding to repair the building. The building is under renovation as we speak,” he said.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell indicated that the contractor on the project is from St David and was given instructions to hire people from Belleisle to do the renovation work.

In addition, he informed the contractor that several other community centres on the island have not been repaired since Ivan in 2004 including Berrotte in Perdmontemps in the constituency.

He told the contractor that he wanted $20, 000.00 to be taken off the cost of the work at the Belleisle community centre project to be put at the disposal of the people of Berrotte for their community centre and the request was granted.

PM Dickon Mitchell disclosed that two accounts were open at the local firms of L.A Purcell and L.L Ramdhanny for the residents of Berrotte to obtain material for the project and they have now started to refurbish their own community centre with their free labour on weekends.

He spoke of writing to the state-controlled Gravel & Concrete corporation to provide some support for the people of Berrotte on their community project.

He also approached the Chinese developers of the project at Levera, Singapore Heng Sheng (Grenada) Development and they have agreed to provide funding to ensure that the work on the community project at Berrotte can continue.

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The Prime Minister also commented on a Community Centre at Morne Delice that residents have not had access to since Ivan in 2004 because it is occupied by a church.

“I have no problem with the church using the community centre but one entity cannot take over a community centre and exclude other members of the community from using the community centre,” he said.

According to PM Dickon, his team has also received the estimates from the residents of Morne Delice and Old Westerhall to renovate their community centre.

“We have also approached another entity to see whether they will fund (the project) – we believe we would get the funding and we would also get the people of Morne Delice involved in rebuilding and repairing their community centre,” he said.

The Prime Minister also addressed an old school in Vincennes in his constituency that belongs to the Catholic Church.

He said he intends to write to the Catholic Bishop “to ask for permission to renovate the Vincennes old school into a community centre for the people of Vincennes as well.”

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell told the gathering at the Town Hall meeting that the intention of his Congress administration for 2023 is to renovate, repair or rebuild 4 community centres in St David that have been out of use for the past 18 years and depriving residents of a learning place, a place to socialise, as well as to have town hall meetings.

He also addressed the lack of running water and toilet facilities in several homes around the island.

He lamented the fact that too many Grenadians do not have access to inside running water, inside bathroom, plumbing, and toilets and said that this situation “is not a joke.”

According to PM Dickon Mitchell, the problem is very severe in the St George North-west constituency in which former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has been the elected Member of Parliament for the past 39 years, as well as St George North-east and “significant parts” of St Andrew which is the largest parish on the island.

He also said that within a month of coming into office and becoming the MP for St David, he had 167 applications from people in the constituency asking for help with bathrooms and toilets.

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