MANDEVILLE — Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry, says he is satisfied with the progress of road work in Clarendon under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP).
“I am pleased with what I have seen. This contract is performing well,” he said on April 12, following a tour of project areas in the parish of Clarendon.
He informed that the National Works Agency (NWA) is closely monitoring the work being done across the island. "The NWA's CEO (Chief Executive Officer), he tells me if there are issues, and when I come along, I look at what must be addressed and it is important because we have to reassess as we go along,” he stated.
The Minister noted that the road development programme, when completed, will not only improve the quality of the country’s road network but also boost property value. “People are, again, taking pride in the homes that they own because we are not just patching and leaving, we are building,” he pointed out.
Health Minister and Member of Parliament for South East Clarendon, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, who was also on the tour, commended Minister Henry and the NWA for listening to residents of the communities where the road improvement is being carried out. “We are getting cooperation from the people. They see what we are doing, they are getting value for money, and I am pleased with the cooperation,” Mr. Spencer said.
Meanwhile, NWA CEO, Patrick Wong, said a major part of the programme involves the strengthening of drainage systems, to ensure the durability of the roads. “The work that we are doing is a complete rehabilitation; it is not just doing a paving work without drainage,” he pointed out.
As it relates to quality control, he said the contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company, “has done an excellent job in their selection of the local sub-contractors and in monitoring, and in collaboration with us, on the quality of the work, to ensure that we are getting value for money and the citizens will benefit from the improvement being done.” He said there is provision in each contract for quality testing.
In the meantime, Mr. Wong informed that 6,200 persons have received employment so far on the island-wide road network improvement programme. He noted that persons are also being trained in various skill areas. “There was a shortage of grader operators and there is a training programme where some young people have benefited from that,” he said.
Minister Henry is visiting JDIP projects across the island to get a first-hand look at the work being undertaken. On Saturday (April 2), he toured work sites in Kingston and St. Andrew and is slated to visit Manchester next.
The Government of China, through its Export Import (EXIM) Bank, has made available US$400 million (approximately J$36 billion) for the programme of works to be effected islandwide on roads, bridges, drains and traffic systems. The programme will be undertaken on all roads, main and parochial, over a period of five years.
By GARFIELD L. ANGUS, JIS Reporter