Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, was at hand to officially kick start the Manchester leg of the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) in Christiana recently. Mr. Golding, speaking at the launch of the programme on Thursday (September 09), lamented that “Jamaica has more bad roads than can be written on paper”, while lauding the efforts of Transport and Works Minister, the Hon. Mike Henry, and the team from the National Works Agency and China Harbour Engineering Company Limited for their vigilant efforts at overhauling and improving the road infrastructure across the island. Mr. Golding said that “Jamaica has more roads per square mile than any other country in the world, except Japan. Therefore the burden of road repairs is far more stringent on us although we do not have the economic strength to undertake all the work that we would like”. However, Mr. Golding said that there are significant benefits to be had from an improved road network, including employment, future development of human resources and increased local and overseas investment.

The JDIP programme is the largest single expenditure to ever be undertaken in one programme in Jamaica, and is the first road programme to be undertaken that includes all types of roads (Parish Council, farm, housing scheme and public roads).

Prime Minister Bruce Golding thanked the Government of China for supporting the goal of the Jamaican government to improve parochial and housing scheme roads through the J$30 billion Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme. The JIDP is funded by a loan from the government of the People’s Republic of China to the government of Jamaica that will allow $30 billion of infrastructure works across the island to be undertaken over five years. The repayment of the loan will come mainly from the Jamaica Road Maintenance Fund which is funded from the cess on fuel tax.