Concrete fix for botched road repairs
Dr Omar Davies has not been a good steward of taxpayers' money since he took up the post of minister of transport and works. His actions suggest it is business as usual. Works account for a major part of Jamaica's Budget.
Any significant savings from that ministry would solve a major recurring expenditure problem yearly. Minister Davies has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Mike Henry, by bringing nothing new to the ministry but the same old bad policy. A paradigm shift is needed to ensure quality work is done on our roads while containing cost.
Minister Davies must immediately put a concrete (cement) component plan to the repair and construction of roads. It's well established globally that a solid concrete base is necessary to withstand the pressure from motor vehicles and other factors that destroy or erode roads. Developed countries have overcome their bad road problems with the use of cement or the concrete method.
Let's start the process now, Minister Davies! Don't spend another cent on our roads with the failed asphalted method! You are only keeping contractors in business every three, four or six months after they do the so-called repairs to roads. A more sustainable job is needed when roads are repaired to save on expenditure.
Please, don't tell me about the cost to use concrete, as your predecessor did! We will not solve our problems or cut cost if we listen to technical people at the ministries who have archaic ideas. Everyone knows that it is expensive to use concrete to repair and construct roads! We don't need the technocrat at the ministry to tell us that!
The truth is, however, that the durability of such, compared to asphalted roads, far outweighs that cost. Look at the road behind Mandela Park in Half-Way Tree. It used to be a nightmare for buses and users of such years ago until a major demonstration by the bus operators caused the authorities to close it and concretise the road. Nearly 20 years later and not another cent has been spent to repair such! I can point to other examples.
Identify the most problematic roads and put a concrete plan to each. Do a portion of each lane with concrete for a start. Revisit such the next year and do another portion.
Don't attempt to concrete the entire roadway at once. There's no money to do that. Do the job in small portions and eliminate the recurring cost of asphalting ever so often.
We are throwing money down the drain and we cannot afford to keep on wasting taxpayers' money! Wake up, Minister, and change the policy.
What is the use of JPS deposit?
This is an open letter to the Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS), the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR), and the Consumer Affairs Commission (CAC).
On Tuesday, January 8, 2013, I got a call from home that JPS technicians were there to disconnect the power service for non-payment. I found this surprising, as I had paid my bill.
I called a JPS customer service representative. A woman named Latoya answered when I dialled 4, as per the instructions. I told Latoya that my service was disconnected, gave her the account number, and she promptly told me that I owed more than $8,000. I asked if this was after the last payment made through the bank of $80,000. She replied positively.
I then asked her what was my deposit with JPS. She said $19,000. So I said, why would you terminate my services if JPS owes me more that I owe JPS. She informed me that a "deposit" was not for settling bills. I asked her what it was for, and she went on to explain that it was repaid at the end of my service with JPS.
So what was the need for a deposit? I pressed. She told me that I was making this more difficult than it needed to be, as the deposit was just a deposit and necessary for any utility and would be returned at the end of service.
Getting nowhere with Latoya, I decided to hang up and call the OUR. The recording kept saying that you had to have written to the JPS and had no response before you can talk to that office.
Could the JPS, the OUR or the CAC tell me what is the use of the deposit to JPS? And I would have thought that as a consumer, the JPS would not terminate your service if you were in credit with the company.
Stop the Band-Aid solutions for Newmarket
As its constitution and mission statement will disclose, Beersheba Old Students Association (BOSA) does not involve itself in partisan political matters. BOSA is a vibrant and vigilant stakeholder in the poverty-stricken peasant farming community of Newmarket.
However, in the interest and welfare of all non-boarding students who commute by taxis daily from Newmarket to attend the St Elizabeth Technical, Lacovia and Black River high schools, and their parents who vend their products at Lewisville market, BOSA would like to comment on the statement made by the National Works Agency (NWA) in RJR's Midday News on January 10, 2013.
This was in response to action taken by residents to block the Newmarket/White Hall main road, and taxi operators who withdrew their services because of the deplorable condition of this major roadway.
Merely making a public statement in the news media that "estimates have been prepared to patch the road" is not an acceptable response to the crisis that the people in Newmarket and adjoining communities are facing at this time.
Aside from the fact that the Newmarket to White Hall main road is used daily by students, vendors, farmers, teachers employed to the Ministry of Education, and other people in conducting their business, this major roadway is also frequently used by tour buses which transport visitors daily from hotels in Montego Bay and other resorts in western Jamaica to YS Falls, Appleton Rum Tour, and other tourists attractions in St Elizabeth.
BOSA is calling on the NWA, Member of Parliament J.C. Hutchinson and Minister of Tourism Wykeham McNeill to move beyond estimates that have been prepared to patch the road and take immediate appropriate action to begin to remedy the untenable condition of the Newmarket/White Hall main road.
The Band-Aid approach of filling potholes and craters with marl is no longer a solution to the problem. Grading, cleaning drains, and complete patching of all potholes and craters by skilled contractors rather than political cronies will eliminate the problem and appease all users of this important major roadway.
Beersheba Old Students AssociationNewmarket PO, St Elizabeth
St Elizabeth taxi drivers protest road conditions
Nackeisha Tomlinson, Gleaner Writer
Taxi men who ply the Santa Cruz or Black River or Middle Quarters through Newmarket route have reached a consensus to give the authorities some time to repair the deplorable road before remounting a demonstration.
A number of them had mounted a demonstration on Thursday.
The cabbies have complained about the uneven road surface, made worse by numerous craters, as well as a blocked drain which results in the thoroughfare being flooded whenever it rains.
The taxi men complained to The Gleaner yesterday morning that the deplorable road conditions were affecting their livelihoods. Glenville Vacianna told the news team that only last week he lost a strut that he had installed three weeks before.
"We can't mek nutting off the road. No livelihood nuh deh pon dis road, no car on this road cannot be a fit vehicle," Vacianna lamented.
The cabbies said they would not be satisfied unless a full rehabilitation of the road is completed.
Howard Hendricks, community relations officer of the National Works Agency Central Region, who was on hand to listen to the grouses, explained that only last week estimates were submitted to the ministry, and the agency is waiting on funding.
no concrete plan
Member of Parliament J.C. Hutchinson said he made representation to the Ministry of Transport and Works in Gordon House three months ago, and since then he had not heard anything concrete on a timeline for the rehabilitation.
Hutchinson contended that it was supposed to have been rehabilitated from in the 1990s as part of a wider road-repair effort. He said it was evidence of political victimisation. He assured the taxi men that he intended to address the drain issue within two weeks.
Banana crop a false hope
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In 2006, I predicted the decline of the banana industry and left for university that same year. I was working in the industry as a technology transfer officer and also had four acres of banana.
The signs were clear. Small farmers could not compete with the estates. (Banana was a lost cause then and is still today). When there was a hurricane, the estates got the lion's share of the pie (everything linked to acreage under cultivation).
The problem was Jamaica was competing with the same country that sold us
The fact that we are unable to control climatic conditions clearly means that our effort should be directed to other agricultural endeavours. We can grow more than banana in St Thomas, Portland and St Mary (and we do).
Jamaica was already importing banana in 2006 (though it was not well documented).
How is the minister going to stop this importation? And why would he?
It is time we stop throwing, or more correctly, washing our scarce resource into our streams and rivers.
Sorry, time for us to stop throwing away money and creating false hope for the banana farmers who toil yearly for nothing.
Pembroke Hall High shines amid challenges
Can any good come out of Nazareth? Unfortunately, many persons ask the same question of Pembroke Hall High School. Though beset with many challenges, the most predominant being that of an antiquated shift system, Pembroke Hall High School continues to shine.
November 29, 2012 was the date of the school's annual prize-giving ceremony. During this celebration of achievements, the family of Pembroke Hall High had much to be proud of. A wide array of trophies and buttons were given to students who topped their classes in the various subjects that the school offers.
Pride exuded from the parents, staff and well-wishers who saw past students collecting certificates for their outstanding accomplishments of passing between five and seven subjects in the most recent sitting of the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate examinations.
Most appropriately, the two guest speakers were past students of the institution. The first, Napier McLeary, is now a student at the University of the West Indies (UWI), while the second, Martin Fowler, is an immediate past student who is now attending sixth form at Meadowbrook High School. Who better to encourage students to work harder than these two, who are testimonies to success through hard work and perseverance.
The most anticipated moment of the evening came when Mark Lewis, coach of the Pembroke Hall High School Icons Cheerleading Squad, was acknowledged for his service. Lewis has been part of the Pembroke Hall family for five years.
During this time, he has brought fame to the institution by coaching the Icons to three regional third-place titles, a second-place All Stars Award, two Varsity Awards, as well as two Coaches of the Year awards for himself.
This year, the group, under his leadership, copped the title of National Cheerleading Championship, beating out rivals and favourites Camperdown High. They then went on to finish second in the All Stars competition. The most recent accomplishment of this iconic group came Saturday, December 8, 2012, when they cheered their way to becoming Caribbean champions at the UWI.
The Icons will be representing Jamaica at the International Cheerleading Championship to be held in Miami, Florida in the United States.
This group is not only showing the good that can come out of Pembroke Hall, it is testimony to the creative talents of a country that knows what it means to succeed against all odds. The Icons have truly shown the meaning of the school's motto, 'Excellence Always'.
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