Letters to the Editor

Pushback to naming highway just silly politics

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

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Dear Editor,

It is with consternation that I note a trend among some sympathisers of the People's National Party (PNP) constantly trying to take credit for things they know nothing about, did not design, build, or rescue when about to fail.

The St Catherine Municipal Corporation is the latest group infected and trying eagerly to bestow a naming title without any apparent knowledge or memory of how the north south highway got to completion.

For the benefit of the members of the St Catherine Municipal Corporation and others, here is a reminder: The Jamaica Observer newspaper on Thursday, August 7, 2014 carried this news item, 'Henry: JLP agreement with CHEC saved north-south link'. In 2010 the work had stopped on the north-south link of the highway when French company, Bouygues, stated that they will have to redesign the plan due to topographical problems encountered at the Mount Rosser leg. The cost to re-route the design of the highway was stated as a whopping US$70 million. It was then Minister of Transport Mike Henry who intervened, got China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) to take over the project and complete it using money he sourced from the Chinese ExIm Bank.

Tell me, where in that activity or transaction is any mention made of the PNP?

The truth is that the highway was stopped under the PNP and its completion by CHEC was a job solely undertaken by the Government, of which Mike Henry was a part. So, if the PNP is having a problem with it being named in honour of Edward Seaga, how did they all pass over Mike Henry's name to reach to Portia Simpson Miller? Have you no shame?

The records and newscasts are there to substantiate my points, but just to throw this in too, it was Mike Henry and CHEC again who collaborated and redesigned the new Palisadoes Road to the airport, just in case at a later date the PNP tries to steal ownership of that too.

Clearly living in a fantasy world unto themselves, the PNP and their surrogates constantly distance themselves from their own utterances and actions, even when caught on camera and it is impossible to so do.

In my researched yet humble view, if one should look at the impact of work done by all three PNP prime ministers for Jamaica, it still would not add up to or surpass what Edward Seaga alone has done for Jamaica. Just look and think about it, Urban Development Corporation, Jampro, Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, Jamaica Stock Exchange, HEART Trust/NTA are all Seaga's creations. Like him or not, facts are facts.

It is obvious that there is a strong bias against Seaga, but it is clear that the argument about the highway not being named in his honour has no sound footing.

Give the man his due, Hurricane Gilbert destroyed Jamaica in September 1988, check the media for how quickly the country was restored and rebounded under Seaga's leadership.

I'll be watching keenly to see whose name the PNP will be trying to tag on to all the newly designed and rebuilt roads that have begun since Andrew Holness became prime minister in 2016.

Joseph Edwards


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