Story Highlights This initial segment of the project will entail the rehabilitation of the 14-kilometre stretch of roadway from Harbour View in Kingston to Cedar Valley in St. Thomas, by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), through a three-year contract. The Government will be spending US$195 million ($2.8 billion) to undertake road construction works under the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), which is slated to begin by the end of September.This initial segment of the project will entail the rehabilitation of the 14-kilometre stretch of roadway from Harbour View in Kingston to Cedar Valley in St. Thomas, by China Harbour Engineering Company Limited (CHEC), through a three-year contract.SCHIP is part of the Government’s strategic development plan for the unlocking of the growth prospects on the south coast by connecting Negril, Westmoreland to Port Antonio, Portland via a modern highway system.To facilitate the works, CHEC has sub-contracted this component of the project to three local contractors.The construction company, the Government and three the sub-contractors signed off on this arrangement at a contract signing ceremony on Monday (August 26), at Jamaica House.Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness; Country Manager for CHEC, Dangran Bi, along with representatives from Alcar Construction and Haulage Company Limited, Construction Solutions Limited, and Y.P. Seaton and Associates, participated in the signing ceremony.As part of the contract, the section from Harbour View to Yallahs Bridge will be widened to four lanes to include new and improved alignments, while the existing main roads from Yallahs Bridge to Port Antonio and from Morant Bay to Cedar Valley, will be rehabilitated. Some realignments will also be done on select sections of these corridors.Prime Minister Holness said the road improvement works is part of the Government’s thrust to “open up” and drive development in the eastern end of the island.“We are not just making this massive investment of US$195 million because we want to put down a lovely (roadway)… but in terms of the wider development plan, we have historically pushed development to the west. We need now to push the development to the east,” he said.He noted that once the rehabilitation of the dual carriage way is completed, there are plans to begin the development of housing solutions in the area.“So, the Government is going to be moving with the National Housing Trust (NHT) and the Housing Agency of Jamaica (HAJ) to start developments on lands that we own there….and we call on developers to start looking now to the east to develop the lands that are now made viable,” he said.In the meantime, the Prime Minister assured that the project will be done properly “in such a way that 50 years from now, it will be standing strong.”For his part, Country Manager, China Harbour, Dangran Bi, said the company appreciates being chosen by the Government as the contractor for this major project.“We are very excited to get started on this major thoroughfare, which will improve the alignment and capacity of the existing southern coastal main road to make it safer and more efficient (for) travel,” he said.In the meantime, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Hon. Daryl Vaz, welcomed the project, noting that “this is by far the best thing to happen to the eastern end of the island in decades.”He noted that a key component of the project is that the upgrading of water infrastructure will be undertaken simultaneously.Under the project, new transmission and distribution lines will be installed in areas where a supply network exists and will be directly impacted by the road works.“Where there is water, but it’s not in the pipes, the pipes will be run to facilitate the water getting to the communities. Most importantly, where there is no water, provisions will be made to be able to pipe water to communities,” Mr. Vaz assured.The project, which is being financed by a US$384 million loan from China Exim Bank, has been divided into two segments. This includes the eastern segment which comprises the rehabilitation of Harbour View to Yallahs Bridge in St. Thomas, Yallahs Bridge to Port Antonio in Portland and the roadway from Morant Bay to Cedar Valley in St. Thomas. Two more sub-contracts are to be signed to facilitate the overall works.The other segment entails the western section of highway 2000 from May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield in Manchester, which is to be undertaken at a later date. SCHIP is part of the Government’s strategic development plan for the unlocking of the growth prospects on the south coast by connecting Negril, Westmoreland to Port Antonio, Portland via a modern highway system. The Government will be spending US$195 million ($2.8 billion) to undertake road construction works under the South Coast Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), which is slated to begin by the end of September.
Qatar’s contribution of $75 million, which will be stretched over a period of five years, includes support for strengthening the counter-terror office’s strategy, backing efforts to support victims of terrorism, and preventing violent extremism.The committment is one of a host of new agreements signed between Qatar and the UN on Sunday, Mr. Guterres shared during his briefing to journalists, and praised such strides as a “quantum leap” in the Qatar-UN relationship.The funds for strengthening the UN’s counter-terrorism activities were part of a full pledge from Qatar that amounted to $500 million. There will also agreements to provide annual support to UN Developmental Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Funsd(UNICEF), the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.In his keynote address, Mr. Guterres said: “Perhaps the most precious – and increasingly scarce – resource in our world today is dialogue,” he said, and added that more exchanges like those taking place at the Forum are needed, but dwindling trust is paralyzing the conversation. He said platforms like the Doha Forum, which nurse the exchange of ideas, are lacking in number, but vital.We face enormous challenges that can’t be solved by any country on its own – UN chief“As I said at the UN General Assembly, our world is suffering from a bad case of trust deficit disorder.”“The world is more connected, yet societies are becoming more fragmented,” he decried. “Challenges are growing outward while many people are turning inward.”“This is the ultimate paradox in today’s world,” he said, calling it a chaotic “in-between” period for world order, and pointing to fear as the ultimate driver.“The best-selling brand in our world today is fear. It gets ratings. It wins votes. It generates clicks.”The UN’s duty in conflict is that of “an honest broker,” and “impartial element,” Mr. Guterres explained to students at Hamad Bin Kahlifa University as part of his visit to Doha. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development sets ambitious goals for its Member States to tackle the complex challenges of our time, which the UN chief nominated as “the blueprint” for the important role of fair globalization.Spotlighting climate change, Mr. Guterres said this challenge is a battle for our future, “and in this conflict, nature does not negotiate,” but to our advantage, emerging technologies can help us overcome this scourge, so long as such developments are monitored. Recapping his recent participations in the successful adoption of the Global Compact on Migration in Marrakech, an agreement on a ‘rulebook’ in Poland laying out the way forward for the 2015 Paris climate accord , and a breakthrough in Yemen peace talks in Sweden, Mr. Guterres said “each of these… underline a core reality in today’s world.” “To put it simply: We face enormous challenges that can’t be solved by any country on its own,” he told attendees at the two-day meeting ‘s conclusion.From Saturday to Sunday, policy leaders at the Doha Forum discussed international alliance, and addressed topics of terrorism, cybertechnology, and the media, among others.On the Forum’s sidelines, heads of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT) and the State of Qatar, along with Vladimir Vorokonkov and Major General Abdul Aziz Al Ansaari, respectively, jointly signed a Contribution Agreement whereby Qatar agreed to support UNOCT’s counter-terrorism strategy implementation. To ensure the “pace and promise” of technology is responsibly maximized, he urged for investment in education, a new generation of support for people struggling to adapt, and a need for collective mobilization, to ensure technology will be “a force for good.”Mr. Guterres highlighted that just as the tech sector is transforming, so are our livelihoods; which encompass the work-life balance which will be “completely different in the future we are facing.”“We need an education, not to learn how to do things, but to learn how to learn because many of those that are today in schools and universities will have jobs that simply do not exist and are not even envisionable today.”He concluded his address on a hopeful note, applauding recent milestones by nations who have championed war and poverty through effective collaboration.“When we work together, we can achieve great things for the good of all people.”“International cooperation works. and that cooperation has never been more critical to repair broken trust and uphold dignity for one and all.”