Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry needs action

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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Dear Editor ,

The Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry is deeply concerned with the developments surrounding the Paradise Bridge in Westmoreland.

The road between Dunbar's River and Ferris has been closed by the National Works Agency from October 2018. This has resulted in economic hardship and safety concerns for commuters, as highlighted below:

Employees have the burden of paying extra bus and taxi fares because the alternate route through Sweet River, which would be shorter than going via Petersfield, is a safety hazard based on criminal activities, including blocking of the road at times.

The other alternate route via Petersfield is much longer.

Some commuters now have to take two taxis; for example, if an individual works at Grace Food Processors Limited, or at the Jamaica Public Service, that commuter coming from Whitehouse will have to go in to Savanna-la-Mar and take another mode of transport to get to Paradise, whereas if the bridge had been operational that extra cost would not have to be borne.

This extra burden has created financial strain for many workers, especially those who receive minimum wage, as well as jeopardise their lives as some transport operators take the risk of driving over the dilapidated bridge just to avoid having to charge their commuters the extra fare. Students, too, are affected as they can no longer participate in extra-curricular activities since they have to leave school earlier to take the long route home.

In addition to the above, our tourism product is being affected, as tour operators transporting tourists to sites such as Appleton Estate and Y S Falls in St Elizabeth have to endure longer travelling times, rather than enjoying more time at the locations. Hotel workers have also been affected as they too are faced with the aforementioned challenges.

Members of the business community have expressed to the chamber, in no uncertain terms, the need for immediate action to alleviate the current situation.

In keeping with its mandate as the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry we are requesting the following from the National Works Agency:

1. An alternate route along the Paradise Road be identified and created for commuters travelling to and from Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland. The chamber has had dialogue with one of its members who is willing to provide access through his private property in the short run until the bridge is repaired.

2. A schedule by the National Works Agency for commencement of work on the bridge and projected completion fram of same.

We are requesting that urgent attention be given to this matter as the people of Westmoreland, as well as commuters islandwide, have been adversely affected, the jeopardisng of the viability of commerce and industry for Westmoreland.

Moses Chybar

President

Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and Industry

easispice93@outook.com


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