Jobs, jobs, jobs!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I APPLAUD the Government on securing a three per cent US$400 million loan from China that will be used to embark on a massive road-rehabilitation programme islandwide.
Encouragingly, more than 18,000 new jobs per year over the next five years are estimated to be created. Given our challenging economic situation, the creation of such jobs should go a long way in improving the lives of many Jamaicans.
Although proceeds from the fuel tax that came on stream last year were slated to repair and maintain our road network, I agree with Transport and Works Minister Michael Henry that it is better to use this upfront money from the Chinese government to begin and complete the aggressive road-rehabilitation programme now, and not later or on a phased basis.
It is to be noted that the petrol tax will not be diverted elsewhere or used otherwise, as Opposition Spokesman on Transport Robert Pickersgill would seemingly want to suggest. The fuel tax will be used to pay back the Chinese loan, which will see the tax still being used for its intended purpose, though in a less direct way.
As the Government embarks on this laudable and most-needed programme, I would like to impress upon Minister Henry the importance of ensuring that proper road signs and markings are erected along our roads to better guide and protect all our road users. These signs must be prominently displayed and should illuminate as necessary, especially to aid road users at nights.
Too many of our roads, especially in the rural areas, have, for instance, no posted speed limit signs, and where there are some, they are largely faded.
Importantly, school-zone signs must be appropriately erected, with the appropriate speed limit posted in those areas.
I am, etc.,
Kevin O. Sangster