Government was told that the manner in which the road works are being done is tantamount to money being flushed down the toilet. Especially since millions are being spent on the road works and loan funds are being expended.
The point was made by Third District Representative, Hon. Julian Fraser as he noted that the $65M loan Government intends to take includes road rehabilitation projects. In this regard Hon. Fraser criticized the manner in which previous road repairs which loan fund were used for were done. In fact, Hon. Fraser noted that the projects rarely live up to standard and that maintaining the Territory’s road is a constant task.
Hon. Fraser told the House that there should be full disclosure about how Government intends to move forward with these projects. “What are we gonna do with this money when we talk about rehabilitation of roads are we going to rebuild the roads the way they are or were? That’s throwing money down the drain literally. That’s what we did the last time. The money went down the drain Madame Speaker.” This allegation is not difficult to prove as it is so evident to everyone: “If we go and take money and build the roads as they are right now or as they were before the storm you are literally throwing money down the drain. We need to see a plan as to what the reconstruction is going to look like and we need to approve that plan.”
In providing examples of the shortcomings of previous road rehabilitation projects Hon. Fraser said: “You can’t continue to build roads with two feet diameter culverts or less crossing the street. They get blocked before the rain comes and nobody realizes it because by the time they open their doors and get outside the flooding has subsided. So they don’t realize that the roads were flooded.”
“We can’t continue to build roads Madame Speaker with water settling on the roads – brand new roads the water is settling. We need to get the proper equipment to give the roads the proper settle so the water can drain and we cannot continue to do business this way. We have to do these projects properly. We cannot be taking money and flushing it down the toilet like this. So we can’t build roads like that,” the seasoned Legislator added.
While responding to Hon. Fraser’s comment in Private Members business, Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool said that he agreed that roads and other projects should be done in a professional manner: “I am at a stage where I too believe that roads need to be built professionally. He said hopefully the funding will come and will be able to get the right engineer and professionals.”
Previously the Caribbean Development Bank CDB approved a $15.67 million loan for the Virgin Islands in March 2012, to help with rehabilitating the Territory’s roadways, after the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Otto in October 2010.