JIS News

The Cabinet Office has given approval for emergency work of up to $4 million to be undertaken by the National Works Agency (NWA) on roads damaged by Hurricane Dennis.
Prime Minister P.J. Patterson made the announcement in the House of Representatives on July 12, as he spoke of restoration efforts in the aftermath of the hurricane. For these emergency works, awards of up to $15 million will have to be referred to the Permanent Secretary, who is required to inform the National Contracts Commission (NCC) within seven days as to the reasons for the decision and the details of such contracts.
While some communities remain cut off due to blocked roads, main roads have been opened except for the Bog Walk gorge and the south coast road via Yallahs. Mr. Patterson said the Rio Grande River and bridge in Portland, would be receiving immediate attention, while old Railway Bridge is to be converted into a road bridge, to accommodate single lane traffic.
He noted that although the engineers from the NWA consider the initiative to be feasible and sound, he had instructed that urgent dialogue be undertaken with the Jamaica Association of Engineers, “because I would like to get their confirmation that the work can be done consistent with the safety of everyone”. Once such approval has been given, a decking is to be placed on the existing structure and have the road usable within another two weeks.
Turning to public health issues, Mr. Patterson said the Ministry of Health was engaged in health education, vector control, water quality monitoring, food safety control, environmental sanitation, epidemiological surveillance and other activities to prevent and control disease outbreaks. Vector control has begun in all parishes focusing on source reduction and larvicidal activities.
All health centres have been reopened, except for those in remote areas, while all hospitals have resumed normal operations.
In addition, Mr. Patterson informed, “all of our wards of the state are safe and well and places of safety and homes remain in good condition. Water is being supplied to the Best Care Lodge and the Strathmore Place of Safety”.