Speech by the Prime Minister

Update on Road Repairs in St Catherine Northeastern

Update on Road Repairs in St Catherine Northeastern



The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, PC, MP

Prime Minister of Jamaica


Kerensia Morrison, Member of Parliament

On the

St Catherine Northeastern Road Repairs

January 18, 2024


Kerensia Morrison, Member of Parliament:

So, Prime Minister, we are on Moreland Road in Guy’s Hill and of course, I need no introduction, Kerensia Morrison, Member of Parliament, and I believe that you will be happy to know that it shall remain so for quite a while because the people of Moreland they are very happy.

This terrain, Prime Minister, was not done in over 30 years. Certainly, one of the worst parts of the network that we had here in Northeastern St. Catherine.  The value, or the estimated value, of getting it done would have been over 16 million dollars.  Now, under those 40 million dollars allocated to all Members of Parliament, we have done a significant portion of it. We’re looking forward to continuing part two but for what it has brought to the people of Moreland, relief. And why this area is particularly significant is that it connects to Riversdale so in the event that anything goes wrong on the major thoroughfare of the Guy’s Hill main road, this serves as the alternative route. So, after 30 years, we were able to effect repairs to what we are seeing now.

As I said before, Prime Minister, the residents, they are grateful for it. They are ecstatic and certainly most deserving. 

Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister:

Thank you, MP Morrison.  This road is a demonstration of the government’s infrastructure expenditure on rural community and local roads. This road connects districts Guy’s Hill and Riversdale and possibly even Troja, and this road has not been repaired in 30 years.

The Member of Parliament, through an allocation from the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation decided that this road would be a prime road for repair. The residents are very happy that they now have this road repaired and their transportation is that much more comfortable. However, incommunities like Guy’s Hill right across Jamaica, there are several roads that are in need of repair. Indeed, I drove on the main road coming up and that is in a state of disrepair, and that is why the government has made an allocation under what we call the Spark Programme of 40 billion dollars.

Now, that can do a significant mileage of roads right across Jamaica. It will not, however, be able to do every single road and therefore it has to be strategically utilized. So the first thing that we will do is we will allocate of that 40 billion dollars, 20 billion to be used to repair local and community roads like this, butwe will add a new twist to it.  

In the past, it would be the Member of Parliament or the Councillor or the National Works Agency that would make the decision as to which road would be repaired. Indeed, the citizens, sometimes the only time they get to participate in the decision about roads is if they protest, and that is not good for our democracy. We need to give our citizens a proper means by which they can articulate their concerns and establish priorities that their representatives can be seized of it and the government can be seized of it.

So, what we intend to do is for the 20 billion dollars that will be allocated for these local roads, these community roads, is to have community consultations per parish council division led by the member of parliament and the councillors for the area. We would expect that the community leaders, church leaders, the professionals in the area, the school children even would come out in a community townhall fashion and talk about, discuss, deliberate on the constituency roads because even though 20 billion dollars is a significant allocation, it will not be able to do all the roads. And so, the members of the community should have a say in which roads get done.

Kerensia Morrison, Member of Parliament:

For clarity, PM, it’s not 20 billion for Northeast St Catherine alone. 

Most Honourable Andrew Holness, Prime Minister:

MP Kerensia made sure to point out that it is not 20 billion, and probably Northeast St Catherine would require that to fix all the roads, but we simply are not able to do that. But what we want to do is for whatever expenditure we make, which would be probably the most significant expenditure for road repair in decades, that we certainly deal with the roads that the residents feel is critical to their economy, critical to their comfort, critical to their productivity. 

Thank you.