JIS News

Commercial activity in St. Thomas has been seriously affected by the recent passage of Tropical Storm Gustav.
The storm destroyed the bridge at Harbour View, which links the parish with Kingston and the rest of the South Coast, disrupting the vital commercial link between the parishes.
Work is currently in progress to install a Bailey Bridge at Harbour View, to restore vehicular movement to and from St. Thomas. This bridge is expected to be completed today (September 1).
Secretary/Manager of the St. Thomas Parish Council, Clinton Gordon, told JIS News that, “we have quite a number of buses that run between St. Thomas and Kingston and since Friday (August 29), they have not come over. Vendors in the market buy goods in Kingston and they can’t get over. The people in the hills of St. Thomas, who produce carrots and other vegetables, can’t go to Kingston, so it’s a two-way thing,” he said.
“That’s our major corridor. We have alternative routes, but those are expensive and arduous and would hike the prices of goods going in or out,” he added.
Another concern is the high volume of sand and aggregate originating from the parish, which services a large percentage of the island’s construction sector. Because of the inability of these trucks to cross the Hope River at Harbour View, they will either remain idle or there will be a major spike in the cost associated with the building industry, if they travel the long alternative routes.
Mr. Gordon pointed out that in addition to the lull in trucking activities, petrol sales are expected to decrease, transportation of commercial and domestic goods curbed and the movement of students and workers slowed.
“The issue is how quickly the National Works Agency (NWA), can get the bridge erected at Harbour View, because there is a whole bunch of people from Morant Bay and Seaforth who go to the University of Technology (UTech) and the University of the West Indies (UWI), who travel daily, so the bridge is very important,” he emphasised.