Holness says Gov’t has money to fix bad roads
Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government has money to repair roads across Jamaica, declaring that the challenge is not the money but how to spend it efficiently on the right roads, and without corruption.
"For the first time in a long time in Jamaica's history, your government is in a position to make budgetary allocation to treat with road repairs," Holness said as he spoke to persons who may have "given up hope" that the roads will be fixed or have been "drawn into schemes to protest".
Holness, who was addressing a meeting of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) central executive meeting in Ocho Rios, St Ann, yesterday noted that Jamaicans have been demonstrating for better roads in many communities across the country. He said that many of the demonstrations are orchestrated and claimed that some of the demonstrators are being paid to do so.
A strike by disgruntled taxi operators disrupted classes and the local transportation network in Westmoreland last week when they blocked the main road between Grange Hill and Savanna-la-Mar and demanded its immediate rehabilitation.
Holness told the JLP functionaries to pay close attention to the demonstrations, adding that whether or not they have been orchestrated, "we still listen to the voice of our people.
"If a road is a concern to our community, the Government must pay attention to it. I know that there are many communities across the island where, since the founding of the community, the roads have not been repaired," Holness said.
He said that there are people who have waited for years for their roads to be repaired and warned that they may become "frustrated" or "feel slighted" when they see highways being opened while their roads remain in a state of disrepair. He, therefore, attempted to convince Jamaicans that his administration is in a position to make a "budgetary allocation of a reasonable size in a systematic way" to fix the country's bad roads.
The prime minister said a critical part of the government's road improvement plan is the $40-billion road improvement project to modernise more than 2,000 roads islandwide. He said that councillors and members of parliament will play an integral role in selecting roads for repair.