Phillips says PNP will reestablish South Coast Highway Project
Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips says the People's National Party (PNP) will go ahead with plans for the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project, which is to link the parish to the rest of the country.
The project, which was proposed under the previous PNP administration, would see the construction of a four-lane highway from Harbour view in St Andrew to Morant Bay in St Thomas at a cost of some US$500 million.
That plan changed with the election win of the Jamaica Labour Party in 2016 which instead announced that it would upgrade the road from Harbour View to Bull Bay as well as undertake improvement works on the rest of the road network.
Speaking during a tour of the parish yesterday Phillips said a PNP government would revert to the original plan.
According to him,“The absence of the appropriate infrastructure is one of the main reasons for the extreme underdevelopment of St Thomas and we think it's essential that the plan be put back in place.”
Phillips said, in the meantime, the opposition will use the parliament to push the government to reconsider its position and fast-track the highway project.
“Apart from the announcement we haven’t seen evidence of the work started and we are going to use every available resource in the parliament to get the government to respond to the needs of the people of St Thomas,” he said.
Phillips further said that the opposition will be using the parliament to demand that the government reestablish parliamentary committees, such as the Infrastructure Committee.
The government and the opposition have been at odds over the leadership of parliamentary committees.
“None of these committees haven’t been re-appointed by the government from parliament started in April to consider the budget. These are all necessary to ensure that the commitments given by the government are in fact on track and if they aren't then to find out why not. Instead what we are finding is that the parliament is being bypassed by the government,” he said.
Phillips, alongside Member of Parliament for Eastern St Thomas Dr Fenton Ferguson, met with the stakeholders in the parish after which they toured various areas with stops at the Morant Bay Market and the Princess Margaret Hospital.