JIS News

Jamaican engineers are benefitting from a wealth of knowledge and expertise on design and construction of roads and highways from Chinese engineers, at the two-day China Harbour Engineering Conference, which got underway this on Thursday (September 23) at the Wyndham Kingston Hotel.
The conference, part of activities to mark Engineering Week in Jamaica, comes as China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) celebrates its 30th anniversary, and the company prepares to begin the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), which has been described as the country’s most comprehensive road rehabilitation initiative.
The forum is expected to solidify long-term, professional relationships between local and Chinese engineers, thereby contributing to improved road conditions and economic development.
Giving the keynote address at the opening ceremony, Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry, stressed the importance of moving quickly to rehabilitate the nation’s roadways.
He pointed out that based on the National Works Agency’s (NWA) road master plan, some 70 per cent of the island’s thoroughfares needed immediate, urgent rehabilitation. “Those did not include farm roads, the roads of the parish councils. It didn’t include housing estate roads. We had to move very quickly.retaining walls were collapsing, bridges were collapsing, we had to look at roads not as whether they belong to the area I represent or someone else, but as Jamaican roads,” he stated.
Minister Henry described the Chinese funding as a “special loan,” which dealt equally with the social needs of development.
“The first issue we discussed was.protecting the Palisadoes strip, and then we moved to the general roads, and we now move to the discussion about transfer of technology, which is what this morning is about,” he outlined.
The governments of Jamaica and China have committed to hosting the conference annually, to ensure the longevity of the sharing of this type of knowledge.
Mr. Henry noted that as part of the technological transfer, the CHEC will be working with the NWA to develop a laboratory facility for the testing of roads, which will strengthen the NWA’s knowledge, so that it will ensure that quality is delivered.
“The time is right for the local engineering fraternity to seek and grasp the vast span of cutting edge technology that the involvement of China Harbour Engineering will bring to our shores,” the Transport Minister stated.
He asserted that improving the roads, connectivity, the safety and movement of persons, and reducing economic cost of travel could only redound to the benefit of the country.
Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Chen Jinghua described the JDIP as a “wider road toward a closer bond between Jamaica and China.” He referred to recent commentary on China’s role in the programme, and assured that there is no hidden agenda.
“I can assure you that solidarity and cooperation with developing countries including Jamaica and the whole Caribbean region, is always the very basis and point of departure of China’s foreign policy. For China, Jamaica has been and will continue to be our good friends and partner, with whom friendship is the most sincere and trustworthy.”

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