Approximately $850 million will be spent to improve and upgrade roads in the parishes of Westmoreland and Hanover under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), said Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry.
He was speaking at the official launch of the road development programme in the parishes on Thursday, November 18, at the Negril Community Centre.
He informed that the expenditure in Westmoreland will be between $450 million to $500 million, while in the parish of Hanover, some $300 million to $350 million will be spent.
JDIP is a partnership between the Government of Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China, to significantly improve the island’s road network over a five-year period, through a $36 billion loan from the Export Import (EXIM) Bank of China.
Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Michael Henry (2nd right), makes a point to Member of Parliament Central Westmoreland, Roger Clarke (right), at the launch of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) for the parishes of Hanover and Westmoreland on Thursday November 18 at the Negril Community Centre in Westmoreland. Also at the launch from left were: Member of Parliament for Western Westmoreland , Dr. Wykeham McNeill; JDIP Deputy Project Manager and China Harbour Engineering representative, Liu Jialin; and Chief Executive Officer of the NWA, Patrick Wong.
The programme is being carried out by China Harbour Engineering Company, with subbing to local contractors. Funding is being augmented by the Road Maintenance Fund (RMF), through the collection of the fuel cess. Under the programme, works are been effected on roads, bridges, drains and traffic systems.
Thursday launch in Negril, represents the 10th such event under the programme. Minister Henry explained that the launches are being held all over the island, to sensitize the public about the work to be done and introduce the Chinese contractors, who will be undertaking the work.
“They were advised if you are going to have sub-contractors, go to the National Contacts Commission. We recommend you only use grade one contractors if you are sub-contracting,” he stated.
The Works Minister informed that weather permitting, all projects should begin by the end of this month. He urged cooperation from the public, noting that the work to be undertaken is for the economic and social development of the country.
Chief Executive Officer with the National Works Agency (NWA), Patrick Wong, said that as that the NWA will be carefully monitoring every project to ensure that the work is of the highest quality.
“One of the things we are going to be striving for, and there will be no compromise on this, is that the quality of the work would be second to none. We will be testing every aspect of the work to be done to ensure that the contractors or the sub-contractors are in compliance with the contract document,” he stated.
He said that once the roads are completed a comprehensive maintenance programme will be implemented to maximize the lifespan of the roads.
In the meantime, Mr. Wong informed that the selection of parish council roads to benefit during the first year of the project was done through the Department of Local Government. He said that the NWA had no input in the decision.
He asked for patience in terms of the implementation of the programme, noting that all the roads cannot be dealt with at the same time.
Representative from China Harbour Engineering Company, and Deputy Project Manager of the JDIP, Liu Jialin, said his company is extremely proud to have been chosen to do the project.
He pledged to cement strong relationships with the people of the communities that will benefit under the project.