The Government of Jamaica has completed a comprehensive national drainage plan to improve the drainage system which will put an end to the flooding in the Corporate Area as well as several flood-prone towns such as May Pen, Santa Cruz and Port Maria.
“When we are done, the entire Jamaica will be fully developed. Indeed, improving our road infrastructure is critical to productivity, connectivity and building a prosperous new Jamaica” said Prime Minister Holness.
Speaking in Parliament Tuesday (September 10) Prime Minister Holness stated that last year the National Works Agency (NWA) completed a Master Drainage Plan which gives a comprehensive overview of the gaps in the drainage system nationally.
“We have done the request for proposals for a drainage design for Kingston and St. Andrew. Hopefully, they will go to contracting within a month and the period of design will be this month. Hopefully, we will have that ready in terms of the major drains that will have to be reconstructed or new drains to be put in Kingston and St. Andrew,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In that regard, the areas that would benefit from this new drainage plan would be primarily the Tinson Pen, Maxfield Avenue Areas, St. Andrew West Central and St. Andrew East Central constituencies which are major intersection points for the existing system and normally get flooded when it rains heavily.
The Prime Minister told Parliament that the execution of the drainage plan is estimated to cost between 100 and 150 million US dollars. He also committed to updating the Parliament before the end of the year on possible timely arrangements for the project.
Last year in his budget presentation, Prime Minister Holness noted that the Greater Infrastructure Development Programme will replace the Major Infrastructural Development Programme (MIDP) to focus on roads, gullies and drains as part of the infrastructure development.
“The other areas that we are looking at now to have a specific plan which will fit into the national drainage plan which would be May Pen Santa Cruz and Port Maria, those are areas that flood regularly. So just to assure members that the government is working towards this, but I would want to alert members as well that the points that you have raised, I am sympathetic towards it. I am a Member of Parliament as well, I face the same issues, sometimes I want to turn to the Minister of State and say what is this but then the reality is that it all has to fit within the national budget,” said Prime Minister Holness.
Additionally, Prime Minister Holness alluded to the fact that improper disposal of garbage, in particular plastics, has contributed to the flooding of the roadways as they block the drains.
In that regard, Prime Minister Holness urged the Members of Parliament to use the allocation given to them for their constituencies to clear entrances to the inlets of the drains and gullies for the water to run off.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness noted that this Hurricane season seems to be very active and Cabinet will discuss the matter to determine whether more allocations can be made in this regard.