Barbados will get 14 more electric buses in less than a year, adding to the current stock of 33 as Government seeks to further improve public transportation across the island while reducing the Transport Board’s dependence on fossil fuel.
Transport, Works and Water Resources Minister, Ian Gooding-Edghill has said that this is one of many projects in which the Barbados Labour Party administration is pouring millions to make travel easier and more comfortable for Barbadians.
Speaking in Market Hill, St George on Sunday night at a mass rally in support of BLP candidate for the St George North constituency, Toni Moore, Gooding-Edghill dismissed any speculation that the vehicles would be unable to navigate some roads and climb hills.
He pointed out that sceptics were proven wrong as the buses are travelling through any districts including Bathsheba, St Joseph and they, “can go down Horse Hill, up Horse Hill, up Farley Hill and down Farley Hill”.
“They’re working so well that your Barbados Labour Party government just took the decision to buy an additional 14 electric buses and I want to get them here at least within six months’ time.
“So that when we are finished we would have 47 electric buses in 29 months.”
But he conceded that many of the roads on which these buses must run are in terrible shape, which he said was a legacy of the past Democratic Labour Party (DLP) government not doing much road maintenance and repairs in the the years leading up to 2018 when the BLP administration took office.
“Since 2018 your Barbados Labour Party government has spent $26 million on roads,” he said explaining that this expenditure is accounted for in the 2018 -2019 and 2020-2021 financial years.
“We have an additional $4 million in the ministry’s budget,” Gooding-Edghill said, indicating that he plans to ask Prime Minister Mia Mottley, if there is any more “elbow room” because there are many more roads to be rehabilitated.
“All 30 constituencies are crying out for help with roads because the Dems did not take care of the roads. They took good care of themselves,” he said.
Gooding-Edghill said roads across the island are filled with potholes because of the DLP administration’s neglect. He said the previous government had also left several unfinished roads in St George North.
The minister assured supporters from that constituency, “We have some roads earmarked for you too. We got Market Hill to Locust Hall earmarked for you, Bridge Cot to Cottage, the road by the old post office and several other community roads that we are going to fix for you.”
There is a mega roads repair and maintenance project on the cards but the minister gave no dates on when it will begin.
“For the first time in a post-independence Barbados your Barbados Labour Party government will be spending $230 million dollars on a Scotland Road Improvement Project, servicing all roads within the Scotland District.”
This works will reach into St Andrew, St Joseph, St John and parts of St Thomas, he explained.
Continuing his onslaught on the previous administration’s neglect, the minister suggested to the constituents “When they turn up knocking on your door begging for a vote ask them why you didn’t fix the roads, the water supply?”
He told the meeting there are also plans for improving the availability of potable water to some affected districts.
“We have plans to address the water problems in Barbados. We are going to set up two permanent desalination plants in Barbados, not at the price tag that they [DLP] signed on,” he said. “We are going to ensure that we have a consistent supply of water in Barbados.”