JIS News

Prime Minister P. J. Patterson said that Trans Jamaica may wish to re-examine the provisions that have been made to see if any changes are required to ensure that the toll highway can withstand unusual levels of rainfall such as those experienced as a result of Hurricane Wilma. The Prime Minister said that the cost to include any such provisions would have to be factored into the final cost of the completion of the road. He said that it made so sense to build a toll highway that would not be accessible when there are heavy rains. He was speaking after a tour of the Mandela Highway and the Portmore Causeway this afternoon (Thursday October 20, 2005).
The Prime Minister told the press that environmentalists have been involved in every stage of the design of the road. He defended the technical competence and professionalism of the island’s environmentalists saying that they are just as good as their counterparts elsewhere in the world. He pointed to the event in New Hampshire which he said could not be blamed on environmentalists or planners. He said that unusual rainfalls will do some damage and this must be taken into account by road engineers and other technical persons.
Meanwhile, the National Works Agency has been instructed to undertake a review of what is necessary to ensure that any remedial work done on the Mandela Highway will result in the Highway being open and accessible to traffic as quickly as possible.
Turning to the flooding in the Nightingale Grove and Kennedy Grove areas, Mr. Patterson told members of the press that investigations are being carried out to determine how permission was given to construct houses in the areas and the invigilating process that was in place to ensure that the construction conformed to the conditions for developmental approvals. He said that if anyone were in breach of duty or delinquent in the performance of their duty, consequences would apply. He said that construction should not have taken place in Clarendon without the approval of the Clarendon Parish Council.
In addition, he said that the Government was looking at those cases where a state entity is positioned or authorized by law to proceed with construction without prior consultation and approval saying that the practice was unsatisfactory. He said that they are now required to consult with and get the requisite approval from the local authority before construction is allowed to proceed.
The Prime Minister said that Cabinet has approved the drafting instructions, which are now before Parliamentary Counsel, for the Minister of Housing to be removed as the Corporation Sole.