St. Thomas MPs Welcome JDIP


Members of Parliament for St. Thomas, Hon. James Robertson (West) and Dr. Fenton Ferguson (East), have welcomed implementation of the Government’s multi-billion dollar Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP), in the parish.
The US$400 million ($36 billion) project, being financed through a loan agreement between Jamaica and the government of China, will see major rehabilitation of major and parochial roads as well as the construction and repair of bridges, drains and other attendant features over the next five years.
The project is being spearheaded by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (Jamaica) (CHEC).
The St. Thomas leg was launched on September 1, during a ceremony at the Paul Bogle round-a-bout, Morant Bay. The parish has just over 360 kilometres of roads, with some 72 bridges.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Robertson, who is also Energy and Mining Minister, said the JDIP’s implementation was akin to “re-launching St. Thomas,” while citing the project’s importance.
“Without the infrastructure, St. Thomas cannot compete, cannot produce, cannot be the place where we want to raise our families, educate our children and build a part of Jamaica, a great nation. I want to say, there is nothing that will make a greater difference at this time to the parish and the people of St. Thomas, than this programme,” he said.
“Whether you are a farmer, a young taxi driver, a young bank clerk in Morant Bay or Kingston, nothing can make a greater difference but the road infrastructure, (and) river training programmes that we are kicking off today,” he added, while expressing gratitude to the Ministry of Transport and Works and CHEC for undertaking the project.
In his remarks, Dr. Ferguson also expressed gratitude, while declaring his full support for the undertaking.
“The programme represents a significant expenditure over the next five years (and) I would like to congratulate the Minister (of Transport and Works) for taking this programme forward. The opportunity for roads is something we must all laud. It is the gateway to the movement of people, goods and service,” he said.
Deputy Project Manager of the JDIP, Liu Jialing, noted that St. Thomas’ infrastructure continues to suffer from the impact of the passage of hurricanes and tropical storms, over recent years, notably, Dean, Dennis, Gustav and Ivan. The damaged infrastructure, he said, made travelling throughout the parish “very long and difficult.”
To this end, he assured that CHEC is committed to providing solutions to the challenges facing users of the roadways.
“We will ensure that the road works that we design and construct will provide the best possible guard against these destructive forces. We have a team of professional engineers who will design and manage the road works necessary. Included in this effort will be the upgrading of roads for the coffee farmers of the famous Blue Mountain Coffee, near Cedar Valley, and the repair of the breakaway at Llandewey, north of Yallahs, that connects the neighbouring districts,” he said.
Mr. Liu advised that a site office will shortly be opened in St. Thomas, and that Jamaican sub-contractors would be employed, adding that the latter would be encouraged to use local labour, services and material, “so the communities can benefit from the project.”
The St. Thomas launch was the third such exercise, following those in St. Catherine and St. Elizabeth.

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