At least three private sector contractors have come to the aid of the Mia Mottley-led administration in helping it to unblock drains, particularly in flood-prone communities by tomorrow.
This follows a meeting last evening between Prime Minister Mottley and key disaster emergency management officials to discuss the pending impact of Hurricane Isaac which is expected to pass north of Barbados early Thursday morning but would begin affecting the island the day before.
Mottley had said that the majority of the equipment at the Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance was not functioning and she needed help in clearing the drainage system.
She said then that the Government wanted to get help from the private sector in supplying generators and other heavy equipment to clean and remove debris from the drains.
She had also noted that efforts were underway to tackle the ten most critical areas that would likely be affected by flooding ahead of Isaac or future weather systems.
“Regrettably the pieces of equipment . . . pumps and generators that are absent from the country . . . and we are trying to see what we can get in ahead of time . . . but in any event to place this country on a good footing for any future system as we go forward and we pray we can get through this season without it,” the Prime Minister said.
But today, Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid told Barbados TODAY the private contractors had already hit the ground running.
“So we have contacted three contractors and they are prepared to assist us. Brathwaite’s Construction, Infra and C.O Williams [Construction], and they have indicated their willingness to help us clear the drains in preparation [for the hurricane], just to make sure the drainage of the island is perfected so that we have as little flooding as possible,” Minister Duguid said.
He revealed that his technical officials met today with the companies to try to identify the areas which require priority attention.
“In addition, the ministry’s equipment is being positioned. We have already done the Whim, we have already done the Constitution River and we are about to do Seaview as well as to do the minor outlets like in Oistins and in Holetown just so that all the drainage points…that there be no obstruction to drainage points and minimize the effects of any flooding from this system,” he disclosed, adding that work went into high gear today to try to get prepared as quickly as possible.
However, Duguid assured that plans for the $10 million which the Prime Minister revealed in her June mini-budget would be available for the purchase of equipment for the Ministry of Transport were well advanced. “We are in the procurement process for the purchase of that equipment,” he added.