'How can you construct a road without drainage?'
JLP councillor slams transport ministry for insufficient repair fundsMonday, September 06, 2021
BY ROMARDO LYONS
A local government official in St Elizabeth who is a member of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has blasted the Ministry of Transport and Mining for repeatedly failing to allocate enough money to repair a road that was badly damaged by rain associated with Tropical Storm Ida two weeks ago.
According to Councillor Cetany Holness (JLP, Junction Division), the ministry has repeatedly provided only a half of the funds need to repair the Revitts to Shaddock Hill road over the years, resulting in subpar repair.
“Tropical Storm Ida tear up all of the road. It's a recurring issue because part of the problem is that whenever we do an estimate for a particular road and we send it to the ministry, the ministry sends 50 per cent of what you ask for. So what that does is to eliminate proper drainage along the roadway. You don't get adequate funds so proper drainage can be put in place and that is part of the problem right across Jamaica,” a disappointed Holness told the Jamaica Observer last week.
“The last time we requested $9 million, and $4.5 million came. I am calling on the authorities to ensure that even if we a do a little piece of road, we put in proper drainage systems. I am a JLP councillor and I am not afraid to talk,” he added.
The road is split in two all the way from Revitts to Shaddock Hill, preventing vehicles from accessing the area. Holness is adamant that much more strategic thinking should have been employed during construction, especially because it's a main road.
“This road is now impassable. No vehicle can traverse here since Tropical Storm Ida. There is a big gully further up and this is where the gully comes. And if you have a gully like this that comes all the way from up in the hills of Junction, how can you construct a road without drainage? It can't be. We have to have a proper drainage system to take away the water so that we don't have to come here and fix the road every year,” he said.
“This road was fixed about three years ago, and when you spend millions of dollars fixing a road, you don't expect this to be the result,” Holness said, adding that residents have echoed similar concerns over the years.
“All the complaints from the residents of this area come to the councillor of the area because I live right in the heart of the division, and you cannot tell the citizens that you don't get any money to construct the drain. All of the water damaging the road is coming from Dundo Hill. You can't fix these roads with these types of gullies without a proper drainage system. That is the problem,” Holness said.
He further pointed to climate change as one of, if not the main culprit behind road damage across the country.
“I want the authorities to understand the impact of climate change and what climate change is doing to us. The dry season becomes the rain season. It is not customary for us in this part of St Elizabeth to be having this type of heavy rainfall in the month of August. So this is what climate change has done to us and we need to take heed. Climate change is impacting us greatly and immensely.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast that the current hurricane season, which runs from June through to November 30, will see 13 to 20 named storms. Six to 10 of those storms are expected to become hurricanes and three to five will be major hurricanes with winds of more than 110 mph (177 kilometres per hour).