Government has cautiously greeted Opposition advice for it to let the private sector lead small and large road projects. Leader of the House of Assembly, Christ Church MP John Boyce, said the negative fallout from the former Barbados Labour Party’s track record in this area was still being felt by the current Democratic Labour Party Government.
And the Minister of Health, who was Minister of Transport and Works before the February 21 general election also criticise BLP spokesman debating a $3.7 million supplementary resolution for roads and building repairs.
He said it was hypocritical for Opposition representations to vote against last week’s Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals, which including $125 million in public sector road projects, but yet lobby today for Government to fix roads in their constituencies.
It was former Minister of Public Works Gline Clarke who suggested the private sector be allowed to build roads, while leaving Government to manage the process.
In response, Boyce said: “He knows what he is talking about because the private sector built out the widening of the ABC highway, he left it for us to try and pay for.
“The private sector had … three contracts with them (former BLP government) to do road works, one was properly executed, the other two we had to fight along with, try to hold together bit by bit with Government’s finances.” Boyce said road works were “an expensive undertaking” and that within its own financial challenges Government was doing all it could to ensure people throughout the country benefitted from improvements in this area.
“The question of road works distributed throughout Barbados will always be a matter for debate, … but the records will show what work was done by the Barbados Labour Party in their 14 years and indeed what work was done by the Democratic Labour Party,” he stated.
“I can tell this Honorable Chamber all the roads that we constructed under my tenure of Ministry of Transport and Works from 2008 to 2012… The main point is that there is already a fair distribution of these road repairs.”
The minister suggested too that “as we built our of road network in the future … we need to create sidewalks”. “More and more we are asking people, at the Ministry of Health certainly, and many other organisations … that people exercise more and I have always said that walking on the road in Barbados tends to be quite a chancy undertaking,” he said.
“I beg drivers on the road to be very mindful of the fact that in Barbados … we don’t have a large array of sidewalks that people can use and therefore the drivers need to exercise due caution when our walkers are using our road network sometime in the morning.
“And the walkers who are exercising also need to exercise due caution; wear brightly coloured clothing, and you should walk on the side of the road where you can see the oncoming traffic.” (SC)