New highway creates more opportunities
ST CATHERINE – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller says new opportunities for economic growth and job creation will result from the opening of the Angels to Linstead leg of the North South Highway.
The opportunities are to be provided through the “rapid expansion” in the hotel and tourist industry, which will be spurred on by “this new mega infrastructural” development, she noted.
The Prime Minister was speaking at the symbolic opening of the 16-kilometre stretch of roadway of the North South Highway, on February 4.
“The Government, as part of the agreement of this highway development, has made lands available to the developers, China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC) for hotels, housing and commercial developments,” she said.
The Prime Minister noted that at Mammee Bay (in St Ann), there will be the construction of hotels, adding 2 000 rooms; and in housing, there will be 5 000 new homes.
“Jamaicans will now have greater choices of where to live, work, do business and engage in recreation,” she added.
Meanwhile, Transport, Works and Housing Minister Dr Omar Davies said there are several immediate benefits to be achieved with the opening of the new road.
“Not only will it radically reduce the travel time between Angels and Moneague, but it will make obsolete the challenges which have come to typify travel through the Bog Walk Gorge. Never again will flooding of the Bog Walk Gorge be the cause of delays and danger for the travelling public,” he said.
The Minister also noted that opening of the roadway will lead to significant developments to the tourism product, housing and commercial and industrial sectors.
Member of Parliament for North Central St Catherine and Minister with responsibility for Sport, Natalie Neita Headley, said the roadway will provide greater opportunities for young people, enabling them to travel to St Ann to find work in the hotel industry. Farmers will also be able to gain greater access to markets.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica Niu Qingbao said the highway represents a great symbol of friendship between the Chinese and Jamaicans. He said it will also make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit certain sections of the island easier.
The highway represents the largest infrastructure investment in the country’s history, costing in excess of US$600 million in expenditure. The Angels to Linstead leg of the highway has employed more than 1 500 Jamaicans and will be officially open to the public on Monday. (JIS)