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Roads, water the top 2 demands across Ja – PM

Published:Monday | March 4, 2024 | 12:06 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Western Bureau:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says feedback he has received from residents, during his recent travels across the country, shows that proper roads and a good water supply are their greatest needs at present, and all other things comes after.

Holness, who has been on the campaign trail in recent months, drumming up support for the Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP) candidates ahead of last week’s local government elections, was on the first leg of a tour of Hanover, and stopped in the Eastern Hanover town of Hopewell, to address residents gathered for the occasion.

“As I travel around the country, the number-one and number-two complaints is road and water, but it tell you how far we have come, because when I travelled around the country in 2016 and in 2020, yes, road and water were always a complain, but they were never-one and two,” he stated.

“In 2016 people were complaining about unemployment, about crime, about cost of living, about the dollar, we (the government) have largely managed to bring all of those under control,” he argued, adding that now is the time for the government to focus on the other local issues that are problems and are of concern to Jamaicans.

As if in agreement with the concerns he said that he has been receiving, the prime minister named roads and water along with garbage collection, as the areas that are in need of immediate attention.

Turning his focus on the town of Hopewell, the prime minister described that town as “a bottleneck town”, in reference to the constant and regular traffic congestion that occurs there. The town of Hopewell is located a few kilometres from the westerly border between the parish of St. James and Hanover, and sits along the main thoroughfare between the city of Montego Bay and the town of Negril, via Lucea.

Holness described the regular traffic congestion being experienced in Hopewell as both a hindrance to the people who live in and around Hopewell, also persons who are just using the town as a passage way to other destinations.

“Yes, we will have to make a bypass road for Hopewell, we are currently surveying areas to see where is the best place to put it (the bypass),” he stated.

He also expressed concern about available parking facilities for the public passenger vehicles that service the town of Hopewell, noting that a keen look is being taken as to how the government can do some further improvements to the town of Hopewell.

He went on to make mention of two of the roads in the Hanover eastern constituency, the Shettlewood and Cacoon roads, that are both in deplorable condition, pointing out that the Shettlewood road has gone to tender, the contract to do the repairs has been awarded, and work has begun on it. He said that ground was broken two weeks ago for work to begin on the Cacoon road.

“So my friends in Hopewell, and the people who have come from all around, we are addressing your concerns day by day we have a big programme called the SPARK programme that is coming up,” he said, pointing out that under that programme each constituency will be getting at minimum $150 million to do road repairs and address water distribution issues.

Holness went on to plead with the people at the meeting to show their support for the Government in local government elections, which were subsequently held on February 26.

“Come the 26th, I want you to be judge and jury on the performance of the government, compared to the performance of the PNP when they had the government, and I want you to cast your ballot, and your ballot is a verdict,” he stated.

The governing JLP would go on to win seven municipal corporations to the PNP’s six (including the Portmore municipality). The Kingston and St Andrew Corporation was tied. The PNP, however, won more divisions across the island with 115 to the JLP’s 113.

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