Sat | Feb 27, 2021

NWA: 12 MPs yet to spend from Christmas road-patching fund

Published:Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12:13 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Parliamentary Reporter
National Works Agency CEO E.G. Hunter (centre) touring the Gordon Town and Savage Pen roads alongside Prime Minister Andrew Holness and St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness on December 5. The Government allocated Christmas funding to re
National Works Agency CEO E.G. Hunter (centre) touring the Gordon Town and Savage Pen roads alongside Prime Minister Andrew Holness and St Andrew East Rural Member of Parliament Juliet Holness on December 5. The Government allocated Christmas funding to repair pothole-ridden roads.

Eyebrows were raised during Thursday’s meeting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) when works czar E.G. Hunter disclosed that only 22 per cent of members of parliament (MPs) have used the entire allocation for Christmas work programmes for patching roads in their constituencies.

Each constituency was allocated $7 million under the programme, part of which was designated for patching roads in the 63 constituencies across the country.

“Another 27 constituencies have started but have not completed, and 12 constituencies have not started any work under the patching programme,” Hunter, chief executive officer of the National Works Agency (NWA), revealed.

Hunter declined to disclose the names of the MPs who have been tardy in starting road-patching works but encouraged them to “bring some relief to the travelling public”.

Recounting that MPs had agitated for funds following the heavy rains in October and November 2020 to patch roads in their constituencies, PAAC Chairman Mikael Phillips said he was surprised that some elected representatives had fallen down on the job.

He said that even though the asphalt companies closed for some time in December, motorists should not be inconvenienced because of the tardiness of MPs in implementing the patching exercise.

The $200-million works to repair the breakaway on the Gordon Town road in St Andrew could span about seven months, Hunter revealed.

While not being able to say when the works would start, Hunter told members of the PAAC that the Cabinet had reviewed the contract.

At the same time, the NWA boss said that work on the alternative route of Savage Pen was scheduled for completion by the end of this month.

Hunter said that retaining walls and signs would be erected along the corridor for safety.

However, he cautioned that despite the safety measures, motorists would still face challenges along the thoroughfare.

He warned against speeding and reckless driving and urged motorists to exhibit good driving practices.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com