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Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, officially broke ground for the US$274.5 million Montego Bay Perimeter Road at Ironshore in St. James on Saturday (July 16).

The 14.9-kilometre national development project is a collaboration between the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation and China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC).

Construction of the perimeter road will provide an alternate route around the central business district of downtown Montego Bay which will relieve vehicular traffic congestion in the city and stimulate economic growth.

Also to be included in the scope of work is rehabilitation of Barnett Street and West Green Avenue, a 10.5-kilometre expansion work to the Long Hill bypass and a comprehensive drainage study of Montego Bay.

The work force for the extensive project will include 95 per cent locals for the unskilled and general work, and a minimum of 50 per cent locals for the technical positions.

In his address, Mr. Holness indicated that where the capacity for the 50 per cent local technical workers falls short, the technical experts that are available are to be paired with local trainees to facilitate a transfer of knowledge.

“That is structured in a Memorandum of Understanding that will be signed [today] between CHEC and HEART/NSTA Trust,” Mr. Holness stated.

“We are going to be targetting the employment of our youth, in particular, because right now we have a skilled labour shortage. So, for this project we have created a parallel structure with CHEC and HEART/NSTA Trust [and]…there is a training component where [locals] will not just be supervised, they will be certified,” he added.

Mr. Holness said the Montego Bay Perimeter Road is a “Jamaica 60 Legacy Project” that is part of an overarching infrastructural development package by the government in driving Jamaica’s economic recovery.

He underscored that this is to be achieved by improving productivity, stimulating growth and boosting employment.

“Your government is improving Jamaica’s physical infrastructure and facilities such as roads, bridges, houses, ports, schools, hospitals, police stations, tourist establishments, water and sewer lines among other areas crucial to national development,” Mr. Holness explained.

General Manager of CHEC’s Americas Division, Lu Yunpeng, pointed out that the entity is committed to applying its engineering expertise to the sustainable development of country. He said CHEC’s knowledge and engineering experience will assist the government and the Jamaican people to create more jobs.

“So, I hope everyone will continue to support and help us to work,” he noted.

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