The Government is seeking to directly award a $1.2 -billion contract to China Harbour Engineering to build the Montego Bay Bypass without going to public tender after declaring it a National Development Project, the first of its kind.

Finance Minister Dr. Nigel Clarke, in tabling the attendant legislation says the designation will allow the government to bypass standard procurement rules.

The Montego Bay Bypass is aimed at reducing the traffic congestion in the country’s western city and major tourism hub.

The Finance Minister says once tourism returns in full swing the long anticipated bypass will be invaluable.

The Project was originally intended to be funded through the China Export-Import Bank with much of the ground work undertaken by CHEC pursuant to the arrangement.

However, Dr. Clarke says the project will now be entirely funded through the Government of Jamaica the first of its nature to be wholly paid for through the taxpayer.

Dr. Clarke says CHEC having done much of the preliminary work informed the decision that they be allowed to continue with the actual implementation.

Dr. Nigel Clarke Minister of Finance and the Public Service.

He was speaking in the House of Representatives yesterday.

The Opposition called for the debate on the motion to be delayed due to not having come to a consensus on the issue yet.