DYER BLASTS NWA
Says agency treating TEF as feeding treeThursday, April 15, 2021
BY HORACE HINES
MONTEGO BAY, St James - Godfrey Dyer has blasted the National Works Agency (NWA) for turning to the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF) to repair street lights on Montego Bay's elegant corridor, which were damaged in road crashes, instead of filing insurance claims.
“...It's a breakdown because they could be claiming, but because they have TEF as the feeding tree they don't care,” Dyer, the TEF chairman, fumed in a discussion with journalists in Montego Bay last weekend.
“A lot of things have been happening there. We don't come to the press and raise hell, but we are very unhappy with the treatment meted out to us on the elegant corridor. TEF has spent millions of dollars in the maintenance of the lights,” he claimed. “There is a thing in law that insurance is to pay for it, but we are having fights with the NWA.”
He related an instance in which he had to go to the police to verify a claim by an NWA official that the agency was unable to get information from the constabulary relating to road crashes that have affected street lights on the corridor.
“I asked him [NWA official] why not make a claim for this. He first told me he is not getting the information from the police. I went to the police, the police say we have the information, but nobody comes,” Dyer said.
He said there is a plan to hand over maintenance of the lights to Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), however, “JPS says they are not taking over the lights in the condition that they are in.”
Subsequently, TEF had asked the light and power company to provide it with the cost to bring them up to the standard that will allow the company to take them over.
“We are waiting on that now. We are prepared to pay whatever it cost to bring it back,” stated the TEF chairman.
When the Jamaica ObserverWest contacted Janel Ricketts, community relations officer for the NWA's western office, she explained that the works agency is currently awaiting Cabinet approval to sign a memorandum of understanding for JPS to take responsibility for the maintenance of the lights.
“The process of signing the MOU requires approval from the Cabinet. The Cabinet submission has been made and we are awaiting approval,” Ricketts told the Observer West.
“Prior to the submission we collaborated with several government departments, including the TEF, the Ministry of Finance, the attorney general, and local government,” Ricketts said.
She said that St James is set to be a part of a wider islandwide programme under which maintenance of street lights installed along major corridors will be the responsibility of JPS.
The lights installed along Montego Bay's 27-kilometre Elegant Corridor were officially switched on during a ceremony on Thursday, July 30, 2015.
Installation of the 797 state-of-the-art energy-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, which span the corridor between the Sangster International Airport roundabout and Iberostar Hotel in Lilliput, St James, was funded by TEF at a cost of $272.1 million.
But, since then, several of the lights have been mowed down by motorists.
“A year ago a number of them [lights] were down, they [NWA] came to us and told us it would cost $25 million to replace them. We signed a contract, nothing happened within six months and after pressure they started a little work,” Dyer said.
“They came back to us and said several more were down, it's now $75 million; we said, no, we are not giving you money like that,” Dyer said.
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