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We are deeply concerned about the dust nuisance – Warmington

Published:Tuesday | June 7, 2022 | 12:05 AMShanna Monteith/Gleaner Writer
Minister with responsibility for roads, Everald Warmington (centre), and Communication Manager at National Works Agency Stephen Shaw (right)engage representatives of China Harbour Engineering Company during a tour of sections of the Southern Coastal Highwa
Minister with responsibility for roads, Everald Warmington (centre), and Communication Manager at National Works Agency Stephen Shaw (right)engage representatives of China Harbour Engineering Company during a tour of sections of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project on Thursday.

The constant, desperate cries of residents in St Thomas about the poor road conditions and dust nuisance associated with works being carried out as part of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project have piqued the interest of Prime Minister Andrew Holness, according to Everald Warmington, minister with responsibility for works.

Over the past few months, various stakeholders, including taxi operators and other motorists, have protested about what they describe as the slow pace at which the work is being undertaken and the disadvantages they have been enduring, including damage to their vehicles.

Speaking with reporters, Warmington, who led a tour of sections of the roadway on Thursday, said, “I’m here because of the continued inconvenience being caused to the residents in the different areas where work is being done, whereby the dust nuisance is intolerable. The Government is deeply concerned about it, so I’m here to see how best we can correct what’s happening.”

The de facto works minister blasted subcontractors covenanted to complete selected areas, blaming them for negligence.

He said: “The issue is that some contractors are really not living up to the responsibility and clause of their contract. This is why we have the dust nuisance.”

Warmington shared that head contractor, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) has been instructed to intervene and recover those areas where the work has been lagging behind and is not being treated with the required standard.

“The contract makes it clear that where the subcontractor is lacking or insufficiently performing, then China Harbour is obligated to step in and do the work itself. I understand that subcontractors are complaining about fluctuation and a need for the issue to be addressed before they move forward, but … the only area covered in their contract is labour and fuel, so griping about [other things] is a waste of time,” said Warmington, who is known for his bluntness, adding that the Government will not sit by and allow anyone to hold the country at ransom.

The tour, which was also attended by members of the National Works Agency (NWA) and representatives of other stakeholders, including CHEC, began in Bull Bay, St Andrew, and culminated in Long Road at the border of St Thomas and Portland.

Addressing talks that the monies allocated to complete the long-anticipated highway has been depleted, and so causing lengthy delays, NWA Communication Manager Stephen Shaw noted that this is simply not true.

“That is just persons spreading rumours. We will finish what we started. The projects are at varying stages of completion, varying from 60-70 per cent and we will get to the point where over the next few months, the percentages will be significantly increased. We have a commitment from China Harbour that they will be moving to execute some of the activities that have been languishing for a while,” he shared.

shanna.monteith@gleanerjm.com