- Dr. Davies has assured members of the diplomatic corps that Jamaica has in place, long-term plans and projects for the development of the island’s infrastructure.
- Among the projects he outlined, was a long-term road infrastructure plan that “rings the island with high quality roads”.
- The Minister also updated the diplomats on plans for the completion of the North South Highway link.
Minister of Transport, Works and Housing, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, has assured members of the diplomatic corps that Jamaica has in place, long-term plans and projects for the development of the island’s infrastructure, that will positively impact economic growth.
“What we would like you to say to your capitals, is that here is a country facing macro-economic challenges, but which has identified practical, feasible approaches which will lead to significant investments in infrastructure and an expansion of the overall economy,” Dr. Davies said, as he addressed diplomats at the Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston on February 5.
Among the projects he outlined, was a long-term road infrastructure plan that “rings the island with high quality roads” from Negril, Westmoreland, to Portland via the north coast; and on the south coast, from Port Antonio to Kingston, and an extension of Highway 2000 to Mandeville, Manchester and later to Negril.
“The network is not simply aimed at moving Jamaicans around but also to facilitate an important economic sector in the form of tourism,” Dr. Davies said. He informed that as the work progresses, there are also investments in water and sewerage facilities along the way as well as an expansion in the number of hotel rooms.
The Minister also updated the diplomats on plans for the completion of the North South Highway link, with the Linstead to Moneague leg expected to open by May this year, while the process of land acquisition is continuing for the other two phases from Caymanas to Linstead, and from Linstead to Ocho Rios.
Dr. Davies also provided an update on the privatisation of the Kingston Container Terminal (KCT), which he said, should be completed by year end; and plans for expansion of the runway at the Sangster International Airport to accommodate flights from Eastern Europe, South America and Africa for which work is scheduled to begin in the summer.
He informed too that Jamaica is now seeking to move to another level of development in the maritime sector, which has, in part, been triggered by the modernization and expansion of the Panama Canal, and outlined plans for the Global Logistics Hub initiative.
He said that the government is actively pursuing plans towards returning Kingston to being a cruise ship port. “Not only as a port of call, but the possibility of home porting. These are prospects which we are working on,” he stated.
Dr. Davies also underscored the importance of public, private partnerships and cited China Harbour Engineering Company’s (CHEC) US$600 million investment in the North South Highway project. “This development could not have taken place were it not for public private partnership because the public sector could not have afforded this development,” he pointed out.
The Minister assured the diplomats that with the various projects being undertaken all the different “bits of the puzzle are coming together.”