Works Minister Says Mechanisms in Place to Safeguard Integrity of MIDP

Photo: Melroy Sterling Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies (right); Deputy General Manager, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), Americas Division, Qiwu Yang; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Audrey Sewell, sign copies of the $665.4 million (US$5.53 million) contract for reconstruction of the Kupius Bridge in Pennants, Clarendon, under the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP). The agreement, which was signed at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston, recently, will see CHEC undertaking the 15-month project, beginning in January 2016. Overseeing the signing is National Works Agency (NWA) Communications and Customer Service Manager, Stephen Shaw.

Story Highlights

  • Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says mechanisms and processes are in place to safeguard the integrity of the $42.46 billion (US$352.94 million) Major Infrastructure Development Programme’s (MIDP) implementation by the Government.
  • Dr. Davies was speaking at the recent contract signing ceremony for reconstruction of the Kupius Bridge, in Pennants, northern Clarendon, at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston.
  • Noting that approximately $26.4 billion (US$220 million) of the money has been reserved for major project implementation by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), Dr. Davies explained that the process facilitating this entails “explicit" negotiations for each engagement.

Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr. the Hon. Omar Davies, says mechanisms and processes are in place to safeguard the integrity of the $42.46 billion (US$352.94 million) Major Infrastructure Development Programme’s (MIDP) implementation by the Government.

“Apart from the objective of improving infrastructure throughout the country, we have sought to ensure that there is a spread of the benefits (targeting major and medium-size projects, and those implemented under the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme {JEEP}),” the Minister said.

Dr. Davies was speaking at the recent contract signing ceremony for reconstruction of the Kupius Bridge, in Pennants, northern Clarendon, at the Ministry’s offices in Kingston.

Noting that approximately $26.4 billion (US$220 million) of the money has been reserved for major project implementation by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), Dr. Davies explained that the process facilitating this entails “explicit” negotiations for each engagement.

“There is a negotiating team (whose members are) named by the National Works Agency (NWA), with appropriate representation,” he said.

As it relates to projects undertaken by local medium-size contractors, for which approximately $9.98 billion (US$83 million) has been reserved, Dr. Davies outlined that contracts are awarded on the basis of a tendering system.

“So, nobody will need to question how a contractor (won a bid), because there is a transparent system in place,” he noted.

Regarding JEEP, for which approximately $6.01 billion (US$50 million) has been reserved, Dr. Davies informed that the Ministry has introduced an “interesting deviation,” whereby they have partnered with Parish Councils, which receive “certain percentage” of the funds to undertake road repairs.

“The Ministry does not indicate to the parish councils what particular roads (should) be upgraded. Rather, we say ‘select a project and we will partner with you’. The JEEP Secretariat simply ensures that there is value for money,” the Minister said, while assuring that “in every instance, there is a clear process by which we ensure that there is value for money.”

The Kupius bridge, which is over 100 years old, is to be rebuilt at a cost of approximately $665.4 million (US$5.53 million) under the MIDP.

To be undertaken by CHEC, beginning in January 2016, the 15-month project will entail construction of a two-lane reinforced concrete bridge to replace the existing single-lane steel structure.

The Kupius bridge, which spans the Rio Minho River, is a major link for several communities in northern Clarendon, including Chapelton, Frankfield, Kellits and Pennants.

The Major Infrastructure Development Programme is jointly financed by the China Ex-Im Bank, which has provided 85 per cent of the funding by way of a loan, and the remaining 15 per cent by the Government of Jamaica.

JIS Social