The Barbados Labour Party (BLP)-administration took its first steps today towards honouring its pledge to repair all the roads on the island.
To this end, it has allocated $7 million to pay contractors and complete some unfinished projects which began just before the last Government’s term in office ended.
Speaking in the House of Assembly during debate on a $7 million supplementary, Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr William Duguid said work would continue on Flagstaff Road, Harrismith Road, Kings Village, Lowthers, Padmore Village, Rollins Road, Little Bay, River Bay Road and Long Bay Village Road.
He noted that contractors had already done significant work on some of these roads.
“For example, 40 per cent at Lowthers; ten per cent at Flagstaff; ten per cent at Long Bay Village and five per cent at Kings Village.”
However, he chastised the former Freundel Stuart led administration for starting some of these projects after Parliament was dissolved, the end result being that “some of the contractors, who spent their own money to work on these roads, would have spent nearly a million dollars, and indeed some have been brought to the brink of bankruptcy.
“All because of the mischief that can occur when Parliament dissolves officially, but the executive continues to work. If they had done the right thing, they would have been able to pay the contractors on time by coming to Parliament to approve their payments,” he stressed.
Duguid was supported by former Minister of Public Works and Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke and Member of Parliament for St Michael South East Santia Bradshaw, both of whom lamented the fact that road projects started under the last BLP administration a decade ago were ignored by the Democratic Labour Party when they took over the reins of power in 2008.
However, with this venture, they said they would put an end to that practice. Hence, the decision to finish off the projects the last Government started.
“I have instructed my ministry wherever possible and when available, we do the trenches for services like natural gas and water before putting on the final layer,” added Duguid, while arguing that “it makes no sense to complete a road, and then a few weeks, months or years later, we dig it up again to install the pipes and other infrastructure associated with the utilities”.
Following requests from several of his parliamentary colleagues who spoke on the resolution and asked for speed bumps in some parts of their constituencies, and recourse for people whose cars were allegedly damaged by potholes and other road problems, Duguid informed them of the procedures involved.
“If you want speed bumps in a particular area, write to the ministry with your concerns, identifying the roads in question, and we will work from there,” he said.
“On the issue of vehicle damage, the ministry has a Legal Department, and when you submit your claim, we have assessors who will go out and examine your vehicle, and determine whether the road caused the damage or if some other factor might have contributed to it.”
Following today’s debate, Parliament was adjourned until July 10.