Perhaps the Heroes Circle 'noise' paid off
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I write to comment on the report carried in your newspaper of Thursday, August 17, 2017, which was headlined 'Jamaicans will design, build new Parliament building - UDC'.
From the report, both Dr Damian Graham, general manager of the Urban Development Corporation (UDC), and Robert Morgan, director of communications in the Office of the Prime Minister, have referred to the public criticisms of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Government of Jamaica and the UDC and China Construction America - South America Division as "noise".
This reference is quite insulting to the sincere concerns expressed by construction industry professionals, and the wider public that has spoken out about the matter.
For Dr Graham to now be saying that "we maintained that building, and the designing of the Parliament and the museum that is related, would have been done by Jamaicans", is simply not true, and is contrary to the initial announcements and what is set out in the MOU itself.
This recent announcement is clearly a reversal and is welcome news. However, it would appear to be a concession that has been thrown out to the local construction industry professionals and other critics to try to distract and deflect from the very disturbing issues that still remain regarding the MOU.
It is instructive that since The Sunday Gleaner of June 25, 2017 published an article on the MOU, which I submitted on behalf of the Jamaican Institute of Architects' College of Fellows, the Government and UDC have not refuted a single issue that was raised. As reported by The Gleaner then, every attempt to get a response from Dr Graham or his assistant failed!
To be very clear to Jamaicans who may perceive that the objections to the MOU are a pushback from locals who are concerned about competition from Chinese construction companies 'investing' in Jamaica, this is NOT the situation. It is about openness and transparency, which every administration has promised the people, and about the carrying out of development projects in a manner that will redound to the best interests of the Jamaican people.
Perhaps the "noise" that persuaded the Government to change course with the Parliament building at Heroes Circle needs to be increased in volume to persuade them to abandon this ill-conceived MOU altogether.