Two major Gov’t projects in MoBay halted

MONTEGO BAY, St James — The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to a halt two major government projects in St James, which will result in their projected completion dates being missed.

They are the $5.7-billion Western Children and Adolescents Hospital and the $500-million state-of-the-art Barnett Street Fire Station.

Ground was broken for the 220-bed hospital on the compound of the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Mount Salem on October 23, 2019, and in June for the 200-man fire station at a section of Barnett Street.

Funding for the construction of the hospital is being provided by the governments of Jamaica and the People’s Republic of China. The project is being managed by Urban Development Corporation.

Chief executive officer of the Western Regional Health Authority, Errol Greene said the site has been closed down by the Chinese, who are awaiting the arrival of equipment, material and workmen from China.

“The contractors have closed down the site, pretty much because they are awaiting equipment and supplies from China, as well as labour force. Their total labour force should have been on the island already, and my understanding is that they have equipment and material on the ports in China waiting to depart for Jamaica,” Greene told the Jamaica Observer on the weekend.

He also said that a number of Jamaicans working on the project, which was scheduled to be completed by May 2021, have been sent home.

“Naturally, there is nothing there for them to do, because they would have pretty much completed their excavation and so on already. So, there is really nothing much for them to do. So they await the deliverables to come, and then they can start again,” Greene explained.

Meanwhile, deputy superintendent at the St James Fire Brigade Rudolph Seaton cited government’s guideline, which stipulates there should be no gathering of more than 10 people in an area, as the cause for the suspension of work on the fire station.

“Presently, work would have ceased because of COVID-19, and you are not supposed to have a gathering of more than 10 at any one time — I would take it that would have hampered us going forward. But then, we are hoping that very soon we will be able to get off the ground again,” said Seaton.

He admitted too, that the project, which is approximately 38 per cent complete, is expected to miss its projected July completion date.

“Of course it will impact the delivery date. But as I said, the entire world is impacted now.so we just have to hope that things will be stabilised as soon as possible so we can move forward,” he argued.

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