Opposition's refusal to support MoBay bypass project 'a slap in the face', says JLP councillorThursday, May 13, 2021
ST JAMES, Jamaica — Councillor for the Spring Gardens Division in St James, Dwight Crawford of the Jamaica Labour Party, says the Opposition party's refusal to support the Government's decision in the construction of the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project is “a slap in the face”.
“I regard the leader of the Opposition and his members' refusal to support the Government in the Montego Bay bypass matter as a slap in the face. I regard it as a slap in the face because we have been looking forward to this development,” said the councillor.
Speaking at the St James Municipal Corporation's regular monthly meeting earlier, Crawford, whose division will benefit from this project, noted that the development he speaks of, would come in the form of “sustainable employment and wealth to residents of the division, and the wider St James”, based on a commitment given by the Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, that 90 per cent of the unskilled workers and an additional 50 per cent of the skilled workers on the project be sourced locally.
“This is music to my ears as right across the constituency, we have persons whose financial standings have in some way, shape and form been negatively impacted by the COVID-19. These persons are ready to work and I am sure they will be giving their best once the project starts. The provision of employment for constituents remains a top agenda item, and this project will play a great role in addressing that mandate,” Councillor Crawford said.
“As the local political representative for the area where most of the project will be implemented, I am extremely happy that the government has taken the stance of designating it a national project. [This] will no doubt speed up the process and allow tractors, shovels and other construction tools to literally hit the ground in short order. This project forms part of the vision for the Division and by extension the West Central St James constituency, as it will address safety concerns along the Long Hill main road and will create a reliable alternative route for motorists travelling across and within the city of Montego Bay,” he added.
The Long Hill main road, he explained, has been a major concern for residents in his division, due to its unsafe nature once there is heavy rainfall.
“Recently, when the Long Hill main road was having some challenges [due to heavy rainfalls], persons who were at the bottom of [the hill], who live at the top, could have benefitted from the bypass. They spent hours in the traffic trying to reach their homes,” said the councillor.
Crawford urged People's National Party's Michael Troupe, councillor for the Granville Division to encourage his colleagues and party leader to do what is best for the people of Montego Bay. The councillor went to note that this discussion by the opposition cannot be taken lightly and urged that they take a trip to the second city during these crises.
“This matter cannot be taken lightly because they stay in Kingston and make these decisions and utterances. I think they need to take the time and come to Montego Bay when we're having the challenges. When cruise ships come in, [there] is stand still on the roads. Tourists are often late to return to their cruise ships or their flights so they opt not to partake in the tours and fraternise the vendors here in the city of Montego Bay," said the councillor.
"Get in the programme of dealing with the people's business and resist the urge of cheap politics," Crawford said.
Councillor Troupe noted that the bypass will affect his division as well and explained that the Opposition is in fact interested in its construction.
"I don't want you to put it out there that we are objecting to Montego Bay and St James, and your division in particular, because it affects my division too. The bypass has been fast tracked, but we to fast track the thing in a particular way. The Opposition is saying it should go to tender," explained Councillor Troupe.
The Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project, which involves the construction of 25 kilometres of roadway, consists of two segments. These are the 15-kilometre Montego Bay bypass project, starting from Ironshore and back around to Bogue Road, and the Long Hill bypass, involving construction of 10 kilometres of highway from Montego Bay down to Montpelier and is expected to begin by late 2022.
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