$630M ROAD PROGRAMME BEGINS

BY BALFORD HENRY
Observer senior reporter
balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 24, 2017

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Plans for a $630-million drain-cleaning, bushing and road-patching programme by the Government was announced in Parliament on Tuesday by Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Holness said that each constituency will be allotted $10 million, based on funding from the Road Maintenance Fund, the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) and the budget, and that the work will begin immediately.

He said that the programme has become necessary because of the unprecedented levels of rainfall since March this year, which he described as an “extraordinary weather event” which has significantly contributed to the deterioration of Jamaica's road infrastructure.

“This [allocation] is to deal with the potholes that have emerged in our roads since the consistent period of rains that we have been having, and many Jamaicans, I am certain, will identify with that,” Holness said.

“I too drive on the roads and I have dropped into some of them [potholes] and as the rains continue the potholes are getting deeper and wider…I expect this programme will make a significant difference in the lives of many residents who traverse the island's road network,” he added.

The Government has proposed that the each of the 63 Members of Parliament allocate $4 million to pothole patching, $4 million to mitigation and $2 million for general clean-up.

The National Works Agency (NWA) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) are to undertake islandwide roadworks.

However, the prime minister said that the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has been asked to provide oversight during all phases of the programme. The move comes as the Government implements measures to enhance best practices in works projects.

“As we advance Jamaica, we must advance Jamaica on the pathway of efficiency, probity, and effectiveness, and that must be the hallmark of this Government,” he said.

“I have noted the concerns about the quality of some of the works undertaken in recent times. I want to assure the people of Jamaica that I expect quality for work under this programme,” he stated.

“I am not expecting this to be treated as Christmas work. It will start before the Christmas season, it will go through the Christmas season, and it will continue after the Christmas season. We will clean up Jamaica and we will make Jamaica nice again,” he added.

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