JIS News

Restoration and re-building work will get underway shortly in East Kingston and St. Thomas as government seeks to correct the infrastructural damage done to these areas by Hurricanes Emily and Dennis.
Outlining the scope of the works, State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works, and Member of Parliament for Eastern St. Thomas, Dr. Fenton Ferguson informed JIS News that a “nagging drain problem” on Fort Nugent Drive in Harbour View just by the round-about is to be fixed.
“This drain has been a source of contention for the residents and we have decided to fix it once and for all,” he said. The contract for that project is nearly $700,000.
Other projects to be executed include a $2 million road re-surfacing in Copacabana as well as the continuation of desilting work on the Chalky River and Taylor Lands, in Nine Miles, Bull Bay. The cost of the project is $27 million and it is 55 per cent complete.
Dr. Ferguson said, “there is need for more protective work but this type of work is expensive.right now for a 100 feet of protective work it is costing somewhere in the region of $2.3 million and so it is going to be a tidy sum when the permanent protection work is to be executed,” he said.
The Minister pointed out that much of the silting of the river course is attributed to mining activities, and “until we resolve some of these issues, the silting problem is going to be a recurring dilemma”.
Dr. Ferguson stressed that these works had come about as a result of government’s pro-activeness and the concerns of the public. “Taylor Lands is a recurring problem everytime there is heavy rain,” he said. “We have now made Nine Miles as one of the priority areas, not because there are no other areas deserving priority treatment, but over time our assessments pointed us to making Nine Miles and Ten Miles as priority areas,” he explained.
“One could argue about the Hope River, or Hope Bay in Portland, or the Plantain or Johnson Rivers,” he said, “however, faced with a scenario of limited funds, government had to prioritise and so Nine and Ten miles were chosen”.
Dr. Ferguson emphasized that “it’s not a matter of too little too late” as there had been a continuous de-silting exercise of that riverbed. “It’s just that this time around it’s a little more extensive,” he said. Chalky River will cost some $27 million while the works for Bull Park has been estimated at $20 million.
The Transport and Works State Minister stressed that the awarding of contracts was done via the approved tender route where necessary, while others were awarded through sub-contracts.