The Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities is developing a programme to redesign the territory’s roads and drains, TWU Minister Kye Rymer told the House of Assembly on Friday in response to a question from opposition member Julian Fraser (R-D3).
The design process, Mr. Rymer said, will include a “climate risk and vulnerability assessment,” and it will be carried out in conjunction with the Public Works Department, the Recovery and Development Agency, and the Ministry of Finance’s Project Support Services Unit.
Mr. Rymer (R-D5) added that he plans to keep the HOA informed of the initiative’s progress.
Ministers also took aim at the previous administration’s spending on roads and asphalt, which they claimed ramped up right before the Feb. 25 general election.
Mr. Rymer said in response to questions from Mr. Fraser that the previous government approved $4,203,440 from local funds on asphalt in the weeks leading up to the election.
And, in response to a question from Opposition Leader Marlon Penn (R-D8), Premier Andrew Fahie said that since taking office the new government has spent a total of $1,129,509.20 to undertake road and patching works, which he noted was out of the $4.2 million that was approved by the previous administration for that purpose.
“Obviously this was a high priority for the last administration,” Mr. Fahie (R-D1) said. “More so than fixing schools and other damaged government facilities.”
Mr. Fraser also grilled Mr. Fahie about an $800,000 contract awarded on Feb. 21 to a St. Lucia-based consultant to do works related to roads, which Mr. Fraser said raised suspicions surrounding its timing right before election day. Mr. Fahie said the consultancy was a component of the Caribbean Development Bank’s Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan and followed a competitive bidding process that commenced on Aug. 2, 2018.
The five firms that were shortlisted submitted technical and financial proposals, which went through a “rigorous evaluation process” in keeping with CDB guidelines, he said.
Mr. Fahie added that he would not rescind the contract, as suggested by Mr. Fraser, “as work has commenced and to do so may place the government in a compromising legal position.”
He provided a copy of the contract to Mr. Fraser, which has not yet been made public. HOA Public Relations Officer Linton Leonard said he had requested all the documents provided during HOA and would distribute them once he received them.