Speech by the Prime Minister

Statement to Parliament on the National Mitigation, Sanitation, Drain-Cleaning and Beautification Programme on November 13, 2018

Mr. Speaker, I use this opportunity to inform this Honourable House of the Government’s plan for another round of the Disaster Mitigation Works. The works have been programmed into the government’s overall mitigation plans, which we have rolled out in three tranches. We have completed two phases of mitigation and three phases of patching so far this year, valued at over $800 million.

Mr. Speaker, this round, however, is crucial given the levels of rainfall that all parishes have experienced with some areas being significantly affected by flooding. We had the unfortunate situation in Clarendon for example, where a young boy lost his life due to flooding in the town of May Pen. We intend to use this round of our mitigation programme to target some of these areas that we as representatives of the people know are problematic.

Mr. Speaker, this programme will be implemented by the National Works Agency (NWA) and the National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA). We have decided to have this programme jointly undertaken by these two agencies as their work complements each other.

We know that there is a serious cultural problem as to how we dispose of our garbage. We see it almost every day, where persons throw garbage through car windows, into gullies and the side of streets. Our drainage system is then compromised, leading to flooding in many of these areas. Our plan is to arrest this situation and through this programme, a start will be made.

Mr. Speaker, the government under this phase of the programme will be spending $997 million over the next several weeks, leading into the Christmas season. The programme will take on a national focus and will be driven by the Members of Parliament; each Constituency will be allocated $12 million to target critical drains, road patching and to undertake sanitation work. We are proposing that the allocation be broken down as follows:

  • $6M for bushing and drain cleaning
  • $5M for patching of potholes
  • $1M for the general clean-up of urban towns and rural townships

The $1M dollar allocation for general clean-up is being provided by the Tourism Enhancement Fund, while the GOJ will finance the remainder. Additionally, Mr. Speaker, the NSWMA is being allocated $100 million to target the removal of bulky waste in townships across the country. These funds are also to be used to assist in implementing a beautification project in these areas.

Importantly Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasize that while Members of Parliament will be allowed some flexibility in determining reallocation of funds for drain cleaning and bushing (6 million dollars) in their constituencies based on their specific circumstances, funds allotted for patching (5 million dollars) cannot be re-allocated and must be used only for that purpose.

I expect that all Members of Parliament will quickly get into gear and work with the technocrats to ensure a smooth implementation process.

Mr. Speaker, let me take a few minutes to address how the programme will be executed. The funds being allocated to each constituency will see the direct involvement of the Members of Parliament. The drains to be cleaned in the various areas will be determined by the MP and the execution done through the National Works Agency. The NSWMA will undertake the sanitation work with the funds made available through the Tourism Enhancement Fund. The removal of the bulk waste will also be managed by the NSWMA through its regular garbage disposal and management system.

Mr. Speaker, I have directed that strict observance to Governments’ procurement rules and guidelines must be observed in undertaking this programme and persons will be held accountable. In fact, Mr. Speaker, as we did last year; the Integrity Commission has been written to and have been invited to provide the requisite oversight to the implementation of the programme.  I expect that the Commission will be on board in this regard. This Government puts measures in place to ensure that there is value for funds expended and that quality outcomes are obtained.

Mr. Speaker, I urge the members to ensure that they work with the members of the public service in having the programme executed in a timely and efficient manner so that value and impact for every dollar that will be spent is assured.