Shahine Robinson labels Kingston road project 'suspicious and political'
THE KINGSTON Entry Corridor project, which is to be financed by the Tourism Enhancement Fund to the tune of $257.8 million, has been labelled as a vulgar use of state resources by the parliamentary opposition.
Shahine Robinson, the opposition spokesman on tourism, while speaking during the Sectoral Debate on Tuesday, said the project comes off as "suspicious and political, and doesn't appear to be properly thought through as a tourism-related development".
The project will include significant upgrading of the corridor on Windward Road from Rockfort to the intersection of Mountain View Avenue. The areas are represented by Phillip Paulwell and Julian Robinson, both members of the ruling party.
"The minister of tourism is yet to provide details on the tourism ministry's plan to carry out a multimillion-dollar road project spanning the constituencies of members from East Kingston and Port Royal and St Andrew South East," Robinson said.
Robinson said the Government had long developed a special route for tourists to traverse from the Norman Manley International Airport into the capital city.
"The Humming Bird route, as it is called, is a 15-minute drive from the airport via Palisadoes Road past Harbour View along the Sir Florizel Glasspole Boulevard to the Jamaica Private Power Company, then along the Michael Manley Boulevard to the bottom of South Camp Road. The final leg of the drive is up South Camp Road to New Kingston. This was put in place to safeguard visitors," Robinson said.
She said neither Tourism Minister Dr Wykeham McNeill nor National Security Minister Peter Bunting have given an update which could serve as indication of improved safety on the proposed road repairs route which was initially deemed unsafe.
"The limited resources earned from the sector should be spent in the major resort areas which account for the overwhelming majority of visitors to the island. Many of these areas are unsightly and riddled with broken infrastructure, clearly in need of upgrade and repair," Robinson said.
Project seems political
She said the project, on the face of it, "appears very political in nature and is simply out of balance with the reality of needs in the tourism sector and a waste of already very limited public resources dedicated to the sector".
She accused McNeill of spending limited resources in "an overtly political fashion and as such not in keeping with the long-held tradition of ensuring the proper development and maintenance of the nation's tourism industry".
McNeill, meanwhile said the project is one of two landmark undertakings this fiscal year to improve the tourism product. The other, he said, will be in Montego Bay, St James.