JIS News

Government Senator, Desmond McKenzie, has said that the administration was fully aware of the importance of good roads in rural communities, especially those in the farming districts.
Responding to a Resolution put forward in the Senate on (Dec. 7), by Opposition Senator, Norman Grant, calling on the government ‘to indicate its policy of reconstruction and upgrading of the farm and rural road network and provide a time-table for such upgrading’, Mr. McKenzie said the government was not able to indicate its policy of reconstruction and upgrading of the farm and rural road network, and would not be able to provide a time-table for such upgrading.
This, he said, was because the Government was not “fully aware of the extent of the deterioration of rural and farm roads prior to assuming office.”
“So what is going to be required is for a period of time for that assessment to be done in order for the government to present a clear picture. Those of us who are at the elected representative level and those in the farming industry should be in a position to have some level of understanding as to the condition and the state of the roads,” Senator McKenzie said.
He also informed that the government was making “every effort to put together the relevant information to guide us in developing a national policy.”
In addition, Senator McKenzie said that Prime Minister Bruce Golding, during the recent rains, toured sections of Jamaica and based on the tour, a comprehensive report on roads and drains was requested, which when completed, would be used to guide a national policy as well as a programme of improvement.
In the meantime, Senator Grant said that transportation played a crucial role in the sustainable development in rural areas and central to this should be drivable farm roads and easy access to drinking water.
“Developing farm roads is crucial to rural development, which in turn improves the quality of life, thus stimulating economic activities. Roads are long term investment and they should be constructed in accordance with the needs of the citizenry in mind, while protecting our forest and watersheds while carrying out the movement of goods and services,” he said.
He added that the development of farm roads would aid in the efficient transportation of people and farm produce out of these rural communities to the markets. The Resolution was approved by the Senate after it was amended.

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