Fix the roads, councillor appeals to Gov’t

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Councillor Ian Myles (People’s National Party, Little London Division) is appealing to the Government to allocate funds to fix pothole-riddled parochial roads in the parish.

“We have not been seeing any allocations being granted. I’ve been here for six years and I have not gotten any assistance to take care of these roads that have been battered many times by incessant rainfall,” he told last Thursday’s meeting of the municipal corporation.

Jamaica has a road network of 15,248 kilometres. Of this, the National Work Agency (NWA) is responsible for 5,286 kilometres of main thoroughfare. The NWA is, therefore, not primarily responsible for the remaining 9,962 kilometres deemed parochial roads, which are the responsibility of the local government.

“We are asking for some attention to be given to these parochial road networks which is over 70 per cent of the island’s network. It can’t continue like this, it’s just too bad,” Myles argued.

He noted that the majority of roads are impassable and communities are suffering as a result.

“They have to be forking out huge bucks to repair these vehicles, which my God, some of the times I’m really, really sorry for some of these roads I go on,” he reasoned.

Myles is also lobbying for greater autonomy to be given to the municipal corporation, hoping this will help alleviate the problem with shoddy roads.

“We at the municipality are the heartbeat, we are the pulse of the people and it’s frustrating at times where you’re traversing these [roads] and persons are calling for just patching or marling to a great degree, and you can’t do anything because of how the government structure is currently,” he explained.

“So I’m, therefore, asking for greater autonomy to be granted based on a change of structure where the municipalities are given the autonomy to operate…” Myles said.

He argued that because councillors are the foot soldiers on the ground and have a better understanding of the day-to-day needs of those who elected them, they would be better able to make decisions on the effective use of tax dollars.

“It is high time that we start looking at the restructuring of the governance of this country. We are a developing nation and as such we need to look on which structure of governance is better suited for the development of the country,” he stressed.

“Moving forward with cries that we should sever ties with the old colonial system, then it’s time, too, that we look on that two-tier system of governance which really replicates what a developing country should look like,” he urged.

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