Slow progress on Progresso Road Print E-mail
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Thursday, 31 July 2014 00:00

Of all the multiple infrastructure projects that are being implemented by the United Democratic Party government, the one that sticks out like a sore thumb is the road from San Estevan to Progresso. Speaking on the issue on Wednesday, the Prime Minister expressed dissatisfaction at the way in which the entire process is going.

He said that there was contemplation to actually cancel the contract since it was plagued by unconscionable and inordinate delays. That thought process was aborted however after Ministry of Works officials and the contractors, the Bella Vista Group Limited of Javier Berbey and Lopez Equipment Limited, met and there was a commitment to get the work done.

Prime Minister Barrow explained that at the meeting the companies’ bankers were present and it was accepted that the funding is now in place to allow the contractors to go forward with the work. They in effect “are being given yet another chance” this is after there has been multiple delays in implementing the project. The contract was signed on July 13th, 2011 and was expected to have been completed in May of 2013. The contract at the time was for 12.6 million dollars. However the contractors have since not been able to complete even 20% of the work.

While it would have been expedient to simply cancel the contract, the Prime Minister noted that the financing for the road comes from the European Union and that would mean that the entire tendering process would have to be done all over again, further delaying the project for a time period of anywhere between 6 to 9 months.

Chief Executive Officer in the Ministry of Works explained that the contractors have simply not been able to do the work, having long time periods when no work was being done. With the new arrangement the contractors will be held to a strict timeline and payments will be made upon completion of works. The new target date for completion is an additional year.

While the project will hopefully get going in earnest, the Guardian is independently informed that a major setback as to the lack of work being done is that the financial institutions are hounding the contractors for payments on debts forcing them to finance these and not use the monies to do actual work on the road.