Sat | Feb 22, 2020

Data to drive gov’t works campaign

Published:Wednesday | January 22, 2020 | 12:32 AMNeville Graham/Business Reporter
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) has a convo with Stephen Beatty of KPMG Canada at the Caribbean Infrastructure Finance Forum 2020 at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (right) has a convo with Stephen Beatty of KPMG Canada at the Caribbean Infrastructure Finance Forum 2020 at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston on Tuesday.

A major infrastructural programme about to be rolled out by the Government will tap into smart technology and be anchored on a rigorous maintenance regime.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness yesterday unveiled the Greater Infrastructure Development Programme (GIDP), a successor to the Major Infrastructure Development Programme (MIDP), at the opening session of the Caribbean Infrastructure Finance Forum (CARIF) 2020 at the AC Marriott Hotel in New Kingston.

Holness said that MIDP had run its course and that it would be replaced with a programme that integrated more efficiently with existing infrastructure and local users, utilising smart technology in tracking maintenance and making budgetary projections.

“It is quite possible to build into the infrastructure sensors that will give a warning for potential threats, giving the ability to put in place the proper maintenance plans and the protection for the infrastructure asset,” the prime minister said.

The much-touted ‘length man programme’, which will involve work crews in a national clean-up campaign, will allow for maintenance tools such as machetes and shovels to be outfitted with smart devices. The prime minister said that data gathered would be integrated into the planning and maintenance programmes for the country’s infrastructure.

“These length men or women will now be empowered with technology to become wardens of the built and natural environment. That will give us a pool of data from which we can do our data mining and analytics to help drive our Budgets and enhance the maintenance and resiliency of the built and natural environment,” he said.

The prime minister did not elaborate on GIDP, but a Jamaica House source disclosed that the details of the new programme are being worked out in the aftermath of the recent Budget call and is expected to be included in the Estimates of Expenditure set to be tabled on February 11.

MIDP has been in existence since 2016 and has been the main driver of budgeted infrastructural development in Jamaica aimed at capital projects, including roads, bridges, and drains.

CARIF 2020 is an annual infrastructural forum sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean Bank and brings together government and agency actors from across the Caribbean to discuss plans for infrastructural development.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com