The Government is to undertake an island-wide road patching programme.
The announcement was made on Tuesday (November 21) by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Parliament.
The Prime Minister said each constituency will be allotted ten million dollars. The funds which are being allocated from the Road Maintenance Fund, the Tourism Enhancement Fund and the Consolidated Fund will also be used for de-bushing and drain cleaning. Work is to begin immediately.
Prime Minister Holness said the country has been faced with unprecedented levels of rainfall since March this year. He said this extraordinary weather event has significantly contributed to the deterioration of Jamaica’s road infrastructure.
“This [allocation] is to deal with the potholes that have emerged in our roads since the consistent period of rains that we have been having, and many Jamaicans I am certain will identify with that. I too drive on the roads and I have dropped into some of them and as the rains continue the potholes are getting deeper and wider…I expect this programme will make a significant difference in the lives of many residents who traverse the island’s road network,” said Prime Minister Holness.
The Government has proposed that the each of the 63 Members of Parliament allocate four million to pothole patching, four million to mitigation and two million dollars for general clean up.
The National Works Agency and the National Solid Waste Management Authority are to carry out the island-wide roadworks.
OCG to provide oversight of programme
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness announced that the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has been asked to provide oversight during all phases of the programme. The move comes as the Government implements measures to enhance best practices in works projects.
“As we advance Jamaica we must advance Jamaica on the pathway of efficiency, probity, and effectiveness and that must be the hallmark of this Government,” said Mr. Holness.
The Prime Minister was firm that the Government expects value for money and will hold technocrats accountable for the quality of the work.
“I have noted the concerns about the quality of some of the works undertaken in recent times. I want to assure the people of Jamaica that I expect quality for work under this programme. To this end I have invited the Office of the Contractor General to have a free hand in ensuring that all requirements of sound and reasonable contracting is observed and to assist in the inspection of the works that have been contracted before payments are made,” declared the Prime Minister.
The programme is expected to continue beyond the holiday season.
“I am not expecting this to be treated as Christmas work. It will start before the Christmas season, it will go through the Christmas season and it will continue after the Christmas season. We will clean up Jamaica and we will make Jamaica nice again,” concluded Prime Minister Holness.