“It is a good start,” Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says in defence of his recent announcement that out of $20 million allocated for road rehabilitation, $2 million would be used for farm access roads.
Critics have labeled this a pittance that won’t help repair the many feeder roads around the country requiring attention.
PM Skerrit has been accused of neglecting the agricultural sector, a position critics argue is underscored by what they discard as an insignificant amount, when what’s required is a more “realistic” sum of about “$200 million”.
However while acknowledging that he would have liked to pump more funds into feeder roads, the prime minister insists that the present economic circumstances make this difficult.
“The road network need more than that too, the river defence need more than that too, the hospital needs more than that too, the schools need more than that too,” PM Skerrit responds to those blasting the $2 million for feeder roads as far from adequate.
“You have a certain amount of money, you have to, as the minister of finance, see how that money can be spread across the country as far and as wide as possible,” he told DNO.
He is convinced that the amount allocated for farm access roads “can in fact impact positively on the farmers”.
“Of course it is an initial amount, we said so – of course we need more than $2 million, but it is a start,” Skerrit said.
Responding to the suggestion that that amount of money might be able to do “only a few feeder roads” the prime minister said the government had to give priority to the country’s major roads that had not been touched in any significant way by past administrations.
He said the government could not depend on the small amount of tax being collected to undertake such projects, and that was why the current foreign policy was crucial in helping the government attract funding for those projects.
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