The often rapid rate at which the country’s main road network deteriorates after large sums of money are expended for construction or repairs, is being laid squarely at the feet of the state-run National Works Agency (NWA).
Blame was apportioned on Wednesday by the Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Everald Warmington, during his contribution to the 2022/23 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
Specifically, Warmington who is in charge of Works, cited lax supervision on the part of the NWA for the recurring problem.
“In some cases, it is the lack of proper supervision of contractors by the NWA staff, while the contractors are performing maintenance or rehabilitation works that cause the failure and deterioration of these roads very shortly after completion,” Warmington said.
“Proper supervision by our staff will be a critical factor in maintaining the performance standards. Closer supervision will have to be done and must be done by the responsible staff of the NWA to ensure that the quality of work meets the required standards,” he continued.
To this end, he said he has already engaged the CEO of the NWA on the subject.
Additionally, he said he has “pledged the support of the Government in having this matter receiving serious attention as we simply cannot continue along the same road, where we spend to rehabilitate, only to be back at square one shortly thereafter”.
“When we make the sacrifice to fix corridors across the country, the least we are expecting is that we get the maximum life from the works undertaken, as per the designs. I am referring here specifically to roads that we rehabilitate. A road that is rehabilitated and expected to last for a minimum 10 years should not show signs of failure at the first shower of rain,” the minister declared.
Warmington said the government was “very uncomfortable with this situation”. He said enforcement of the NWA's performance standard will be a key aspect of what the ministry does in the future.
He told his colleagues that it is widely known that the majority of the country’s road infrastructure is dire need of attention. He noted that the NWA estimates that $100 billion is needed to start to make a dent in this problem faced by many Jamaicans.