MP blasts state agencies over ‘blame game’ as roads remain unfixed

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Manchester Central Member of Parliament Rhoda Moy Crawford is calling for improved linkages between agencies such as the National Works Agency (NWA), the Manchester Municipal Corporation and National Water Commission (NWC) in the execution of road-related projects.

“We just have to try to do better coordination,” an annoyed Crawford told the Jamaica Observer in response to reports that potholes on major roadways in Mandeville had resulted from the NWC digging up paved sections in order to repair broken pipes.

Long-standing confusion regarding main roads, which are said to be the responsibility of the NWA and parochial roads which fall under the remit of the municipal corporation, is also a source of concern for the first-time MP who represents the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP).

“We don’t have to wait for any national directive [as] right here in the constituency, the municipal corporation, NWC and NWA, all of us can sit at a table. [We can] discuss and plan…” said Crawford.

“There are some communities that I have right on the agenda [to fix their roads], and I can’t do it because NWC is doing some pipe laying and I can’t go asphalt a road for millions just to see NWC come and dig it up,” added Crawford as she rejected the blame game.

“Passing it from one place to the next is not going to solve any problem. We have to sit at the table and come up with solutions, because when everybody passing [the blame around] the people suffer,” she said.

Crawford pointed to roadworks done recently along a section of Manchester Road and close to Plaza Road, which she said was well-needed regardless of which agency is responsible.

In the meantime, councillor for the Mandeville Division Jones Oliphant (People’s National Party) says he intends to get the municipal corporation involved in response to allegations of shabby work resulting in damage to drain grates on Ward Avenue.

“[It is] a parish council road. The superintendent of road and works [at the municipal corporation] would have to be brought into it,” he said.

Potholes now pockmark a section of the roadway which benefited from a multimillion-dollar drainage and repavement work a few months ago.

“They [NWA] did the project even though it is a parish council road. They were the ones responsible for implementing the drainage system,” said Oliphant.

A business operator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the NWC recently dug up a section of the road.

“A pipe had a leak there and the water commission came there and dug it up. They left it for about a week, saying that they were going to make sure that it isn’t leaking again. Approximately four days later, they came back and dug another hole in the same vicinity and only filled it with marl. Since then another pothole has formed in the middle of the road, drivers have to manoeuvre between two holes and it affects access to business places,” the businessman told the Observer.

Oliphant was adamant that the NWC should speedily and efficiently carry out repairs.

“Water commission must come fix back the road, put it back in the state that it was in,” he said.

A source at the NWC said there is a memorandum of understanding between the NWA and the commission for road repairs and that the matter would be looked into.

Meanwhile, huge potholes on other streets in the town of Mandeville are creating havoc for motorists.

“Manchester Road is the responsibility of the National Works Agency,” said Oliphant when asked about a huge pothole close to the centre of the town.

He chastised the NWC for another pothole on Villa Road which he says was caused by a broken pipe.

“The NWC water mains are giving the problem, so I need to hear from NWC as to what is what. Let them go there and fix it quickly, because it is dangerous. The problem originated from them,” said Oliphant.

When asked about incomplete drainage work on Villa Road he explained that it would be completed soon.

“What we are waiting on is the asphaltic plant, because if you notice Levy Lane (in Mandeville) was done recently. In short order there will be repairs there,” he said.

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