It has been revealed that the roadworks that were carried out during the weeks leading up to the 25 February general elections by the previous government were unbudgeted for and had a cost of $5M.
The disclosure was made on 25 April during the budget debate by Premier and Minister for Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie. The Premier commented about the works and the cost as he declared that the previous government had a problem prioritizing.
He said: “We had road paving that was not budgeted for, coming on to elections, done. And the bill that the Minister of Works can state is well over $4 million…I think it’s $5 million and change. We have that amount there. Those were unbudgeted amounts.”
Hon. Fahie made the point twice during that debate. In his latter comment he reiterated that there was a prioritizing problem not a cash shortage situation. “Yes, we had the money, but did we have the priorities correct? Because $5 million and change went towards paving a road where there were no surface, some of them there was only the dirt, but we understand what was coming. February 25 was at hand,” the Minister for Finance announce.
“When you look at that, the Elmore Stoutt High School to fix the L-Shaped building only took $4 million…So it was not a money problem, it was a priority problem,” he added.
The roadworks raised eyebrows and many questioned the speedy execution of the project. In fact social media comments and criticisms from residents were plentiful; eventually prompting the Acting Director in the Public Works Department Navarro Donovan to announce that the works were being carried out to provide a safe, practical, efficient, economically and environmentally sound infrastructure.
Donovan explained that the works were a part of the long-term goals of the department and asphalt and roadwork repairs include the Blackburn Highway, portions of Waterfront Drive and the concrete roads on Anegada.
A public statement was also issued via GIS on the matter in which it was stated that the roadworks were part of the long-term goals of the department.
The asphalt and roadwork repairs were done in Port Purcell, the Blackburn Highway, portions of Waterfront Drive, the concrete roads on Anegada, Huntum’s Ghut; the Ridge Road; and Jean Hill.