JIS News

The Government has allocated, through the National Works Agency (NWA), $1 billion to effect road repairs and carry out clean-up activities, following the impact of recent heavy rains on the road network.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, made the announcement during the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 17), at the Jamaica Conference Centre.

“This may not extend to every roadway that is in need of attention. I know, too, that it may not be able to do the extensive rehabilitation works that is required along some corridors. However, we will be able to carry out works that are desperately required,” Mr. Holness said.

He said of the $1 billion, each Constituency will be allocated $15 million and the Members of Parliament will be given directions on how the resources should be utilised.

Giving a breakdown of the figure, Mr. Holness said some $7 million has been allocated for road patching, $4 million for de-bushing, $2 million for beautification (sanitation and removal of garbage) and $2 million for drain or gully cleaning.

Members of Parliament will not have the option of taking any amount from this $7 million to spend on bushing, beautification/cleaning and sanitation or drain cleaning.

“The allocations that we have made – the $7 million of the $15 million – has to be used very strategically. The Government does not have separate resources to allocate to Members of Parliament to patch roads of their choice and then make a whole separate allocation for the NWA or the Parish Councils,” Mr. Holness said.

“So, the Members of Parliament will have to work closely with the NWA to look at the list of affected roads and together make the allocation and selection of roads,” he added.

Prime Minister Holness noted that the cleaning of critical drains and gullies in constituencies is also an imperative.

He said that activity has to be carried out under the programme, “and I have given instructions that this be done immediately and the NWA should start mobilising for this right away”.

Prime Minister Holness said MPs may reallocate a maximum of $1 million from the $2 million designated for drain cleaning to another heading.

He further added that similar reallocation can be made from the $2 million designated for sanitation to another heading, while a maximum of $2 million may be reallocated from the $4 million for de-bushing to any other heading.

“MPs may choose to reallocate a maximum of $4 million to the patching programme from all allowable headings,” Mr. Holness said.

Meanwhile, the NWA has to put together a comprehensive list of road repairs that now have to be carried out, based on the impact of the last two major rain-related events in Zeta and Eta.

The Prime Minister informed that it is estimated that some $5.4 billion will be required to undertake various stages of the recovery and reinstatement to reconstruct and bring the roads to the desired standards.

Some $2.3 billion is related to reopening affected roads and drains and to make driving more comfortable for many residents.

The announced $1-billion programme is part of the $2.3 billion needed to bring the roads to drivable condition.

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