MONTEGO BAY, St James – Minister of state in the Office of the Prime Minister, Western Region, Homer Davis, has disclosed that apart from the US$274.5-million contract which was signed last year for the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project, a number of other Government projects are earmarked for western Jamaica.
Davis, who was transferred from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development after a recent Cabinet reshuffle by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has been mandated to coordinate all Government projects in western Jamaica, including the parishes of St Ann, Trelawny, St James and Hanover, with special emphasis on the Montego Bay perimeter and the Long Hill bypass roads.
The scope of work for the Montego Bay Perimeter Road Project includes the construction of the Montego Bay bypass road, rehabilitation of Barnett Street and West Green Avenue, as well as the construction of the Long Hill bypass.
Government has entered into the contractual agreement with the China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) for the entity to carry out the works.
“Several Government projects are to come on stream in [western Jamaica], which I will not name at this time,” Davis told the Jamaica Observer during an interview.
“I will also be working closely with Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) in the areas of the ZOSO,” said Davis.
He stated that Government was also mulling the construction of roads in Hopewell and Lucea to ease traffic congestion in the two Hanover communities.
“There will be new thinking as it relates to going forward, as for example, for the towns of Hopewell and Lucea there is a discussion taking place to look at how best we can bypass these towns, to look at additional roads that can take you pass these towns so that an individual going to Negril does not have to sit in traffic in Hopewell or in Lucea,” Davis stated.
Envisioning inconveniences for motorists when the construction of the perimeter road commences, Davis is appealing for patience and understanding.
“Montego Bay will come under a lot of inconvenience when the perimeter road starts. The township will be having road construction activities, and not only the township, but getting out of Montego Bay. The road from West Green to Howard Cooke that is slated to be dualised is a part of whole perimeter road project. The road from West Green, all the way up to the Clock (the top of Barnett Street), will be dualised. An additional bridge will be constructed at Barrett River. So that in itself will present some inconveniences for motorists,” he said.
Tasked with among other things, “to work in tandem with the contractors or developers to get these projects done efficiently, timely and in budget, Davis also cited the need for good labour relations during the works.
“For Government projects to be effective, there has to be collaboration between stakeholders, to include labour. Labour is very critical in developments. Therefore, if there is a Government project that is taking place, as best as possible, we want to make sure that the labour environment is one in which projects can proceed without any industrial dispute. Because when you have these disputes it tends to add additional cost to contractors. So it tends to probably cause the contract fund to go over budget,” he stated.
He added: “I am very upbeat and working with the various stakeholders from the mayors, custodes, the civil society, chambers of commerce. I think we can get the job done.”