Trelawny MPs square off over road repair

CLARKS TOWN, Trelawny — Two parliamentary representatives yesterday squared off during a tour of a $22-million road rehabilitation project in the Hyde community, here, over ownership of the thoroughfare.

The Hyde community currently sits in the Trelawny Northern constituency, which is represented by Victor Wright of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP), but a recent change of the electoral boundaries will see the area forming part of the Trelawny Southern constituency, which is represented by the ruling Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP’s) Marissa Dalrymple Philibert.

Yesterday, supporters of both political parties, clad in party colours, also traded barbs as they accompanied their respective political representatives on the tour.

Dalrymple Philibert showed up with her supporters, along with the JLP councillor for the Sherwood Content Division, Dunstan Harper, while Wright was accompanied by Opposition spokesman for works, Mikhail Phillips, PNP councillor for Martha Brae Division Phillip Service, and other party supporters.

Dalrymple Philibert, a three-term Member of Parliament, expressed that having lived in the Hyde section Clark’s Town, she was compelled to make representation to repair the one kilometre stretch of road, which has been neglected for over three decades by elected PNP representatives.

“I, as Member of Parliament [for Trelawny Southern], was awarded the work on the road to be done… Mr Wright, who is the Member of Parliament for [Trelawny Northern] and who I am proud to say he is from South Trelawny, he knows how I operate in South. He knows how many roads I have fixed, he knows I believe in representation because I entered the political arena to serve. So I can only assume this [yesterday] morning he is here to congratulate me for forging ahead and doing the work,” Dalrymple Philibert said.

But Wright, a first-term Member of Parliament, is contending that the road is still situated in the Trelawny Northern constituency for which he is the duly elected MP until after the general election is called.

He fumed that he was neither introduced to the contractor of the project nor invited to meetings with the National Works Agency (NWA).

“In my consultation with the minister in charge of works, Everald Warmington, a year ago, he told me that $30 million was awarded to my constituency. When I went back to him to find out where the money was being spent, he told me that it was allocated in Hyde. It was allocated to my constituency and… I was not introduced to the contractor,” Wright pointed out.

Wright said he was only touring the road to inform the constituents of the scope of the work on the project.

However, Dalrymple Philibert, who said she had been invited to visit the project by the contractor, countered that Wright only showed up because he had been informed that the grateful constituents are attributing the road repairs to the JLP.

“That Mr Wright has chosen to come now is because it has filtered to his ears that the people are thankful that a Jamaica Labour Party Government is fixing the roads after 30 years,” Dalrymple Philibert said.

“The last days this road was worked on was on the days of [Sir Alexander] Bustamante. This is the first from then, and I also wanted to reiterate that when I started my political career I started in North Trelawny. So apart from the fact that I lived and worked with the people here, I worked with all the people in this area for years when I started my political career, so it is my interest to serve the people,” she added.

According to Stephen Shaw, manager, communication and customer services at the NWA, the roadwork, which started earlier this month, is projected to be completed in eight weeks.

“It is one of the projects that we are implementing under the secondary roads programme here in Trelawny. It’s valued at some $22 million. We started earlier this month… We have already gone nearly a month into it and accomplished some of the milestones that we would have set ourselves,” Shaw told reporters.

“We are improving the drainage features, we are also strengthening the base, and at the back end of all of that, we are going to be using asphalted concrete as the final surface,” he said.

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