A $6.5 million stimulus package was today launched to help bolster the country’s struggling construction sector.
The Government initiative will result in road rehabilitation in five parishes, including St Michael where it was announced.
Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley is anticipating that the improvements will be significantly expanded next year if Government succeeds in its attempt to secure a further $140 million from the Inter-American Development Bank.
“We originally started at $10 million and we’ve now decided we will look at $6.5 million. We’ve allocated some of those funds to two other projects that were ongoing before,” he told the media during a tour of Luke’s Avenue, Bayville where a 800-metre stretch of road is being rehabilitated.
“The project involves private sector players, C.O Williams and INFRA Inc. We will be journeying from St Michael into St Lucy and also to St Philip and St George and Christ Church. We have a number of roads in that package. The packages have been allocated already and this is a move by the ministry, through the Government, to generate some activity on the island. Within two weeks or so we would see roads very busy around Barbados.”
The tour was led by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, the member of Parliament for St Michael South, who explained that there is a move underway to improve the conditions of all the road arteries in the parish and deal with severe drainage problems.
“Sand Box Avenue has been a challenge for some considerable time and the residents there can expect that, very shortly, we’ll be moving in there to deal with similar challenges . . . at Browne’s Avenue where these challenges have recurred over time, as a result of the way the work has been done in the past,” he stated.
The officials then proceeded to Waterhall Hall, St Michael where INFRA Inc. has been contracted to undertake road rehabilitation.
General Manager Roger Gill said the decision to have his company work on the 600 metres of road, including footpaths, is welcome news.
“Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing excavation, marl-filling, improvement of the drainage and also the installation of natural gas for the NPC [National Petroleum Corporation]. So we would be here for approximately four to five months and we are asking the residents for their full cooperation because their cooperation would assist us in getting ahead with this work with probably less hassle,” he said.
According to Gill, some 25 people would be directly employed, while up to 50 would benefit indirectly.
Meantime, the transport minister has asked residents for patience during the road improvements.
“I want to apologise beforehand for any inconvenience that would be caused. With any progress there would be inconvenience. We would be working around the clock.” he said, adding that officials would be monitoring to ensure there is no fallout.