The Honourable Minister for Public Works and Ports, Senator Mirium Blanchard, has reported that following the devastation caused by Tropical Storm Erika especially on the infrastructure of the island, her ministry has approved over 500 projects. These projects point to the fact that Government is working towards the rehabilitation of Dominica.
The Honourable Minister made this announcement at Parliament this week.
Senator Blanchard stated that estimation from a report submitted by the World Bank post Tropical Storm Erika indicated infrastructural damage at $643.6m.
The Honourable Public Works Minister proclaimed that even with this report Government was not daunted by the task of redeveloping the island.
“Since Tropical Storm Erika the Ministry of Public Works and Ports approved in excess of 550 contracts valued at $85m… of the $85m in the value of those contracts roughly $65m was processed since I moved to that ministry….”
In her address at Parliament the Honourable Minister indicated that within one month after the storm over 95% of Dominica’s roads were passable.
She also declared that because the Government of Dominica places safety and security of its people as its highest priority her ministry is the major beneficiary of the expenditure comprising the supplementary estimates.
Major clean-up post Tropical Storm Erika included clearing of slides, removal of trees and debris from roadways and construction of bypasses which were at a total cost of $12.1m.
She indicated that these projects did not exclude opposition constituencies.
“Bills totalling roughly $2.3m were submitted by the Parliamentary Representatives on the other side of the House. In the case of the Salisbury Constituency we have paid bills totalling $1.2m. In the case of the Roseau South Constituency we paid over half a million dollars. In the Roseau Central we paid almost $400k. In the Marigot Constituency just over $150k and the Roseau North Constituency $62k. In the Wesley Constituency just over $6k. The largest single allocation of $29.7m was made for a project to rehabilitate the island’s main airport- the Douglas Charles Airport in the Marigot Constituency,” Hon Blanchard explained.
The Honourable Senator also responded to the Parliamentary Representative for the Salisbury Constituency who did not consider the construction of the Yorke Valley Bridge in Layou as a priority.
“At that ceremony I explained what led to the need for the construction of the of the new bridge [the Yorke Valley Bridge] indicating then that the reinstatement of the damaged section of that bridge following the collapse of the Mattieu Dam was a temporary measure.
Could the Opposition be suggesting that we should have waited until that bridge collapsed before constructing a new one? How then can they really argue that they are concerned about citizens of this country? If this project was put on the back burner it would have resulted in loss of life and would have impacted negatively on the farming community.”
The Honourable Public Works Minister maintains that a strong and robust infrastructure will contribute to an efficiently functioning Dominica.