A team led by the Minister of Transport and Works, Hon. Mike Henry and including, CEO of the National Works Agency (NWA), Mr. Patrick Wong, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Alwin Hales, Executive Director, Road Maintenance Fund, Mr. Clement Watson and Mr. Liu Jailin, representing China Harbour and Engineering Company (CHEC) met with approximately 20 sub-contractors who are part of the Jamaica Development Programme. The meeting took place on Tuesday, March 15 at the Medallion Hall Hotel and was called to discuss the status of the Programme.

In welcoming persons to the meeting, Permanent Secretary Hales said that the programme was a significant one which was aimed at launching ‘an attack on bad road conditions’ all over the island. He said that the meeting was one where persons could discuss frankly their take on the programme in the context of all working together to find solutions to enhance said programme.

Also making a presentation was Mr. Liu Jailin from CHEC. He said that his aim was for JDIP to be a project delivering the highest quality work. To this end, they have introduced a rigorous quality control system to which all the sub-contractors will have to adhere. He noted that the work will have to be in accordance with specifications as laid down by CHEC, otherwise they would not be paid.

For his part, CEO of the NWA, reinforced the idea that the work expected from the sub-contractors will have to be of the highest standard. He asked them to embrace the project and see this as an opportunity to grow and possibly take on other projects locally and even regionally. He said that for each aspect of the project, a plumber will be expected to be on hand that if a pipe is burst in the process, then they will ensure that it is fixed right away. He paid tribute to most of the contractors, whom he said ‘pleasantly surprised’ him in the work carried out so far. He urged them to also to pay equal importance to the maintenance of roads, once they have been fixed.

The main address was given by Minister Mike Henry. The Minister asked the sub-contractors to take the programme seriously as it was the biggest works infrastructure programme that had ever occurred in Jamaica. He said the $400MUS project was a big step in plans by China Harbour to make Jamaica regional hub. He too spoke of the need for the contractors to engage in high quality work and noted that he along with other officials would soon be visiting sites to start making checks on worksites. Minister Henry also spoke to the environmental issues attending the project, noting that the contractors needed to pay attention to issues such as the watering of roads to minimise dust nuisance as they worked. He said that this was an important component of most loan/grant negotiations with multi-lateral organisations.
The Minister said that he was proud of the positive contributions of the sub-contractors who had done good work but was far from pleased with those who had not performed up to standard. He said he wanted to be able to protect the integrity of the Jamaican contractor, China Harbour and the Chinese government which is why standards needed to be the watchword of all concerned with the project.
Also speaking at the meeting were Mr. Clement Watson, Executive Director of the RMF; a number of contractors also used the opportunity to have issues associated with the project clarified.