Major highways in six parishes along the North Coast corridor will receive extensive cleaning and beautification during the next two years, under the Northern Coastal Highway Road Improvement Programme.
The $340 million project is being funded by the Government, in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).
The six parishes are Portland, St. Mary, St. Ann, Trelawny, St. James and Hanover, and the highways will receive continuous bushing and drain cleaning during the period.
Another component of the project, the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for which was signed on March 8, will see some 100 environmental auxiliary workers receiving special training in Ornamental Horticulture (Level 2) for six months.
The MoU was signed between the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) and the National Works Agency (NWA), in St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann.
Those selected for training have worked on the North Coast Highway before. They will undergo interactive lectures and written assignments, under the direction of the HEART Trust/National Training Agency, at the end of which they will be given certificates.
Addressing the official launch and MoU signing, Executive Director of the NSWMA, Jennifer Edwards, commended the participants selected for “this crucially important project.”
“Participants, you have confronted all kinds of obstacles and challenges over the last year (working on the highway); challenges such as rain, sun, wasps, human and animal waste, among others, always sticking to the task. I believe that if we train our people, if we educate our people, we are not only helping them individually, their families, their communities, but indeed will contribute to the development of Jamaica,” Ms. Edwards said.
“Not only will we be beautifying the North Coast, but we will beautify the South Coast and the mid island areas as well. This renewal will lead to other persons getting the opportunity for employment and also accessing the opportunity for education,” she added.
She urged participants in the training programme to take the six months seriously, as the course is designed to equip them to become professionals.
The training will end in August or September, and will include studies in soil conservation, operating a tractor, knowledge of pests and computer science. It will be undertaken in conjunction with the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE).
By Glenis A. Rose, JIS Reporter