No wastage - Accountability high on legacy road projects - PM
The US$164 million ($20 billion) Legacy Projects - Mandela Highway, Constant Spring Road, Three Miles (Hagley Park Improvement Project), and Barbican Square - must not be viewed as a waste of taxpayers' money, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has said.
He was speaking to reporters in Barbican Square at the end of a tour of all four projects, beginning at Manor Park with a look at the works to widen the Constant Spring Road, before visiting the Mandela Highway work site and then on to Three Miles, where he had a first-hand view of ongoing road-construction activities there.
"The public must come to understand that this was never a waste of taxpayers' resources. Indeed, this is a loan negotiated with the Chinese government," the prime minister said.
"In addition to the savings that will come from making the investment, the National Works Agency was instructed to negotiate smartly and very hard with our friends from China to make sure that we got the best price, that we finish within budget, and that there was no wastage and other forms of corruption attached to the constructions," he added.
The Barbican portion of the legacy projects endured a few setbacks - prolonging its completion date by nearly four months - due mainly to the inclement weather in the latter part of last year. But now, with the construction work completed, the prime minister sought to address concerns that surfaced.
China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) executed work at a cost of US$4.4 million to upgrade the 1.1 kilometre section of Barbican Road.
"None of our major projects should be in any way smeared by any allegation of wastage, corruption, or misuse of funds," Holness noted.
"I think that having completed this and all the other projects, which we expect to be completed within budget, Jamaica would have reached another level in its integrity and accountability in the use of public funds. I believe, by and large, that we have managed to accomplish that, thereby setting a new standard by which public works will be conducted," the prime minister said.