KINGSTON, Jamaica, November 7, 2017: The People’s National Party is extremely concerned at the escalating public protests and road blocks over the deteriorating road infrastructure in many parishes and the apparent lack of response by the government and local authorities with responsibility for the road network.
In a statement this afternoon, the party Shadow Minister of Transport and Works, Mikael Phillips said, the wanton lack of maintenance of the nation’s road network by the Andrew Holness led-administration has now resulted in a series of public protests in St. Thomas, Clarendon, Westmoreland, St. James and St. Catherine with life-threatening consequences. The absence of any ongoing road maintenance programme, coupled with the heavy rains that have been pelting the island over the past months have combined to ensure greater hardship for Jamaicans in their communities all over the island.
The PNP Spokesman said, it is an attitude of callousness on the part of government to ignore months of protest by the people, demanding that their roads be repaired. The continuous non-response is causing increasing frustration and daily escalation of demonstrations as no one speaks to the people, or has even acknowledged their plight, including the obvious danger some of these roads pose to life and limb.
The spokesman said, he is very concerned as large sections of the nation’s road network have been left to waste away while the public coffers are being raided for political endeavors and there are claims of lack of money to address these roads. This is also happening against reports that the roadway to the Prime Minister’s unoccupied residence in Beverly Hills is being expanded to improve access.
Mr. Phillips said, the people of St. Thomas and St. James have been crying out in daily protests to no avail. In those parishes, in particular, the protests have impacted negatively on schools and economic activities as workers and students were not able to pass the road blocks.
He said, the government in its callous approach is failing to make the link between maintenance of the nation’s infrastructure and the lack of growth, especially in the farming and industrial sectors. Instead, they continue to dole out road repairs in a partisan manner, robbing taxpayers of the right to good and proper services from the national agencies.
Against this background, the party is sounding an early warning about an imminent massive road work project which is to be undertaken shortly. Based on preliminary reports, the design and allocation are similar to the previous programme, which ensured that constituencies held by Jamaica Labour Party members enjoyed a disproportionate share of the allocation.
The PNP calls on the Holness government to immediately do what is necessary to address the poor state of the country’s road infrastructure and ensure that the allocation for repairs to the road network is devoid of partisanship. The situation has impacted too many of our people across the island, who chose to live, work and raise their families here.