‘Living through hell’, admits MP Vaz re roadworks in East Portland 

Member of Parliament (MP) for East Portland, Ann-Marie Vaz, is again sympathising with residents of her constituency over the disruptions they are facing due to roadworks on the Portland leg of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP).

“I want to apologise because we have been living through hell in this parish, but it’s what we wanted, and at the end of the day, this is not a rebuild of any road,” Vaz declared.

“This is the laying of a foundation, and it is always tedious when you are laying the foundation to build, because unless it is built on a solid foundation, we’ll find ourselves right back here in another five years, and we don’t want that,” she stressed.

The parliamentarian was addressing residents who attended last week’s town hall meeting of the Jamaica Constitutional Reform Committee (CRC) in the parish.

Residents have staged several protests and have remained largely frustrated that the prolonged dust nuisance associated with the road project, as well as the general bad road conditions, continue to plague some communities in the constituency.

Remedial works have been carried out on some sections by the relevant authorities to address the dust nuisance, and assurances have been given that the roadworks will be completed efficiently.

There have also been protests by residents over lack of water, which has been caused by ongoing drought conditions affecting the parish.

Extremely inconvenient and hazardous road and community conditions along a section of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP).

In noting the concerns of some East Portland communities relative to water, Vaz said the trucking of the commodity continues.

“We have been trying our best, but Portland has found itself in a unique situation where we are having droughts, and it’s something we are not used to,” she said.

“Coupled with pipes that have been over 40, 50 years old, that’s the situation we’re working with,” the parliamentarian continued.

She said the delivery of water has been somewhat improved “due to the (water) mains being put along the highway”.

Vaz asked rhetorically, while providing an answer to a seemingly controversial question, given that she is a Government MP: “The Government’s intervention in trucking water – is it at the level that we’re all happy with?

“No, but we are working towards it,” she stated.