Contractors on the Belles Water Supply project has been cautioned to work within the stipulated time frame estimated for the project and to stay within their budget, as funds are not in abundance in this financially difficult time.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit made the remarks at the official launch of the Belles Water Supply Project at the Belles Primary School on Monday afternoon.
Skerrit, who is also the minister for finance, said he is not interested in hearing about cost overruns from contractors.
“Let me say to the contractors that I am not interested in hearing anything about cost overruns, so manage the project properly,” he said. “And Dominica Water and Sewage Company (DOWASCO) must provide daily supervisions, because the minister for finance is saying that there shall be no cost overruns.”
He pointed out that the contact for the project is $4.6-million and no more should be spent on it.
“If you can spend $4.2-million, fine with me but do not spend more than 4.6 because I need the money to spend in other parts of the country because we have to try to stretch the dollar,” he said.
He warned that if the project is set to end in June 2015, “it should not be June of 2016.”
“So let us understand very clearly, when I come back here in Belles as the prime minister of the country again for another five years, I need to come to commission the water in 2015 not 2016. I will be around in 2016 but I want to commission the water in Belles in 2015,” the prime minister said.
Skerrit also told residents of the community that governments in the past thought the project was too expensive to undertake since the area has an abundance of rivers and rain and they could “have a little drum at the back of your house and collect water.”
However, he stated, that his government appreciates improving the lives and standard of living of people, thus the reason for its decision to undertake the project.
“This is why we have taken this bold decision, this necessary decision to effect the commencement of this major water project at a cost of EC$4.6-million,” he noted. “4.6 million in a time when the entire world is going through very challenging and difficult circumstances is a major contribution by the government to the improvement of the way of life of the entire Belles community.”
Parliamentary Representative for that area, Kelvar Darroux said because of the location of Belles (in the center of Dominica), governments in the past have “forsaken” that community.
However, he noted, that the Dominica Labour Party has “demonstrated in no uncertain terms that Belles, Penrice, Pond Case are a very important part of the country.”
Work on the project has already started and it will include the construction of two water intakes, laying of supply lines and building of access roads.