Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says agreements for the implementation of the US$600 million North/South Link of Highway 2000, between Angels, St. Catherine, and Ocho Rios, St. Ann, are expected to be signed by the end of the week.
The project is one of three which the current administration inherited from their predecessors, which they have pledged to continue. The other two are the expansion and further development of Kingston as a transshipment port.
Making the opening presentation in the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate, in the House of Representatives on June 19, Dr. Davies pointed out that implementation of the projects is contingent on the administration reaching “mutually satisfactory agreements” with potential investors, and advised that Cabinet has approved the signing of both the concession and implementation agreements which will facilitate the resumption of work on the Mount Rosser leg of the North/South Link.
“The total project involves an investment in excess of US$600 million, over a three-year period, with none of this investment being an obligation on the part of the Government of Jamaica,” he assured.
In this regard, Dr. Davies informed that discussions are currently underway with a private sector entity for investment in the amount of the project sum, while further assuring that “there is no financial risk being undertaken by the Government of Jamaica or any of its agencies."
The Minister said following the signing of the agreements, work on the Mount Rosser Bypass is expected to resume “within months,” with that section slated for completion within 12 months. He also advised the House that the requisite environmental impact assessments will be carried out, consistent with the stipulations of the relevant regulatory bodies.
Regarding the Kingston port expansion and development projects, Dr. Davies said “progress continues to be made,” while expressing optimism that “within months,” negotiations for their implementation will “move to the point of agreements on both proposals."
By Douglas McIntosh, JIS Reporter