The brakes have been applied to Government’s highly publicised plan of sourcing electric buses this year from China, at least for now.
The inevitable delay in the importation of the much talked about electric vehicles, that were expected to hit the island’s roadways by summer this year, is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It was at the end of November last year that Prime Minister Mia Mottley indicated that the arrangements for Government to purchase an undisclosed number of electric buses from China had been finalized.
However, in an update on Friday during the wrapping up of Parliament on the Appropriation Bill, which was subsequently passed, Mottley told her colleagues there would now be a further wait for those vehicles.
“We have spent $24 million to purchase buses that have not yet arrived and we have paid for them. The member for Christ Church West [Minister of Transport, Works and Maintenance Dr William Duguid], would remind persons that subject to the supply and logistical considerations and the similar shutdown in China, we would have expected to have received these buses in May to June,” she said.
“But given all that is happening, we are now awaiting when they will be delivered to the station given the shutdowns that we have seen across borders,” she said.
In relation to at least one other infrastructure project, Mottley said Government would continue to “aggressively” move forward with its Barbados Water Authority (BWA) water mains replacement programme and “continued fixing” of burst mains.
“I make the point that while the British government laid these mains in the Caribbean they had an empire, but we simply have a country today and out of that country we must now ensure that over the next 25 years that to the people of this nation, [we] provide as a matter of priority, a stability of water, which in my view is the new oil of the 21st century,” said Mottley. (MM)