KINGSTON — Minister of Transport and Works, Hon Mike Henry, defended the credibility of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), during his budget presentation in the House of Representatives yesterday.
Mr. Henry said that the loan for the programme had to be from the Export/ Import Bank of China to the Government of Jamaica, with an interest rate of three per cent.
He said that, under the original agreement with the Export/ Import Bank of China, the Chinese contractor would have carried out 40 per cent of the work. However, the Government got them to agree that they would not do all of the work or bring in labour.
“So it was negotiated to have Jamaican grade one contractors hired to do the bulk of the work, valued at $10 million and below,” Mr. Henry explained.
The Transport Minister also stated that the Export/ Import Bank of China visits Jamaica on a quarterly basis to review the progress of the work, while China Harbour Engineering does its own analysis of the performance of the sub contractors, to ensure the integrity of work.
“There is a 48-page document of every specification that must be complied with under the JDIP. If you turn (the pages) you will see what you must do during construction, and each of these is measured,” the Minister noted.
During a press briefing, recently, Mr. Henry said that works under the programme were either underway or are on the way under year one of the programme, for which US$60 million was allotted in the 2010/11 budget.
Among the areas affected are: Havendale and Hughenden, St. Andrew; Garden Hill to Kentish (completed), Point Hill to Reynolds, and the roadway from Bamboo to Worthy Park in St. Catherine; Sunset Avenue, Gloucester Avenue, Queen’s Drive, St. James; and Cane Shop to Skull Hill, Manchester.
Work is also being carried out on retaining walls in a number of areas, including: Jack’s Hill Road, Papine and Red Light in St. Andrew; Comfort Castle and Alligator Church, Portland; Woodford to Maryland Square, St. Mary; and Fairview, Zion Hill to Tulloch, St. Catherine. Work has begun on the Rio Grande Bridge in East Portland.
The Government is providing a portion of the funding for the JDIP, and has negotiated a three per cent interest rate loan facility with the Chinese Government, through the Export/Import Bank of China.
The programme, which will run for five years, started in 2010 with Chinese firm, China Harbour Engineering (CHEC), as the contractor. The majority of the labour has been sub-contracted to local companies.
The NWA is now implementing the programme, which is expected to create close to 7,000 jobs.
By LATONYA LINTON, JIS Reporter