Tue | Oct 17, 2017

JLP's Seiveright urges gov't to make St Thomas leg of Highway project a national priority

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2015 | 2:58 PM
Delano Seiveright

Jamaica Labour Party caretaker for St Thomas Eastern, Delano Seiveright is urging the government to make the St Thomas leg of the proposed Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project a national priority.

Seiveright said that years of poor representation and underdevelopment has now placed the parish as Jamaica’s poorest, complemented by very low levels of investment and very
limited opportunities.

Transport, Works and Housing Minister, Dr Omar Davies announced on Tuesday during his contribution to the 2015/16 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives that the government is seeking funding for the project.

But Seiveright said this has become a matter of urgency in a parish that has been neglected for many years.

“Among the first steps needed to turn St Thomas around is to build a decent highway for the parish.

Despite bordering Jamaica's capital city, Kingston, St Thomas is the only parish with a terribly substandard main road making it very unattractive to investors,” said Seiveright.

He said the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions has shown that poverty in the parish has more than doubled from roughly 14 per cent in 2008 to 32.5 per cent or more in 2015.

“Depending on how some of us measure poverty, I would say it exceeds 50 per cent,” he added.

He noted that data out of the Social Development Commission, have revealed that poverty rates are as high as 70 per cent in some districts.

Seiveright noted that the highway will go a long way in moving forward an integrated development plan that will boost and develop agriculture, agro-processing, light manufacturing, port development, and tourism as a means of ultimately boosting employment and development.