During a recent outreach in Mahdia, Region Eight, Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan urged the residents to remove their properties from the roadways so that infrastructural works could be completed.
Minister Bulkan told residents the initiative is a fulfillment of government’s promise to reduce the inequalities between the conditions on the coastland and hinterland.
However, the project which commenced since 2015 has been delayed due to encumbrances on the alignment of the roadway, which is now compromising the project.
The Minister reminded the residents that the government is working towards planned development in the region. To this end, he will further meet with the residents to remove those encumbrances and allow for the execution and completion of the project in a timely manner.
Over $800M was allotted in the 2016 National Budget for works on the Mahdia roads. The funds have been rolled over for completion of the project in 2017.
The Region’s engineer Wendel St. Pierre said the project which is divided into three lots should have been completed a year ago. He explained that the contractors now have an August deadline to complete the project.
Lot one is being carried out by Technicon which is over 50 percent completed and lot two, J.R Ranch Construction, is at 15 percent.
Lot three which was recently started by B and J Civil Works is experiencing difficulties with the removal of lamp poles, St. Pierre said.
“One of the recent issues was with B and J; there were some poles directly between the alignment.
We went to the residents with representatives from the Chairman’s office and approval for the residents to move back their fences and for the poles to be moved so that process is currently ongoing.
Overall this project after 16 months is roughly 23 percent completed,” St. Pierre explained.
Contractors executing road works in Mahdia
Further, there is contention with the size and width of the road from the Cenotaph to Dormitory Road. St. Pierre said that issue will be addressed soon.
Some of the residents shared their concerns on how the project is being executed which mostly surrounds destruction of the local GUYOIL gas station property.
Proprietor of the gas station Deoraj Dhanraj said many of the residents were not aware of the work before it commenced. He said, “citizens are sitting right here and we are not properly informed, all we know fence breaking road breaking…we should be informed.”
Minister of Communities, Ronald Bulkan engaging proprietor of the region’s local GUYOIL Gas Station, Deoraj Dhanraj on the issue on the road works
Other residents spoke of the fear of the gas station ‘blowing up’, causing destruction in the area.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communities, Emil McGarrel told the residents that committee will be set up to further address the issues concerning the execution of the project. He noted that this committee will allow residents to actively participate in the project.
A total of $1.702B has been provided for rehabilitation of hinterland roads in Bartica, Mahdia, Ituni-Kwakwani and the Cassandra Crossing Bridge.