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Jamaica: NWA halts works on a section of Southern Coastal Highway due to extortionists

The National Works Agency (NWA) says it has halted activities on a section of the Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project (SCHIP), following threats received from what appears to be extortionists who are demanding bi-weekly advances, if the project is to continue.

The roadworks is being implemented in sections of St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland. Over the weekend, the decision was taken to suspend works along the Georgia to Cedar Valley leg of the project.

NWA said the demands were made by way of a handwritten letter, neither the source or authors of which were declared.

“The work site was closed even while critical wall construction and revetment protection works were in progress along sections of the badly-deteriorated roadway,” a statement from the agency read.

The agency noted that the works to be completed along the 15 kilometer-long Georgia to Cedar Valley contract package is very valuable. The roadway is earmarked for extensive reconstruction and improvement including a new pavement, the upgrading of existing drainage features and the construction of new ones including culverts; the installation of shoulders in more rural areas and new kerb and gutter and sidewalks in built-up areas.

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