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JDIP halt will cost taxpayers, says MP Mair

Published:Monday | May 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM

NORTH EAST St Catherine Member of Parliament Gregory Mair is arguing that Cabinet erred when it decided to put a hold on projects under the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) shortly after a change of political administration in January.

Mair said the decision was likely to result in taxpayers paying more to complete projects on which works have commenced.

"You had these projects under JDIP which were under construction. In my case, there were two roads - the Riversdale to Pear Tree road and the one in Old Troja. The civil works had been completed and they had put on the marl. They were to put on the asphalt," Mair noted.

"Everything came to a halt. It has been raining ... all the marl now is being washed away, so when it starts up again it will cost more money."

He added: "Much of the work that has been done has deteriorated."

Transport and Works Minister Dr Omar Davies announced a suspension of JDIP projects shortly after the Government changed hands in January. At the time, Davies said most of the monies under JDIP had been committed to projects.

Funds used up

In January, Davies told the House of Representatives that only US$1.8 million of the US$400-million road programme's funds have not been used up or committed.

"As at December 2011, the combination of funds actually disbursed, work orders certified for payment and the value of works committed amount to just over US$389 million," Davies had said.

"This means that if, as minister, I accepted the status quo, all but US$1.8 million of the US$400-million loan which was scheduled to be expended over a five-year programme would have been completely committed before the end of the second year of the programme," Davies added.

The new administration redirected a portion of JDIP funds to start the Jamaica Emergency Employment Programme, popularly called JEEP.

Mair is not amused by the spending on JEEP at the expense of roads.

"They should have better allocated those funds to finish the roads under construction," he said.