Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool and Eighth District Representative, Hon. Marlon Penn along with officials from Public Works Department at Georgie Hill Road.
Photo Credit: Gordon French/BVI Platinum News
During a visit to the Georgie Hill road, just above the Greenland cemetery in May, Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool had promised that works on that stretch of road would be completed by July. However, it's almost the end of August and works are yet to start, prompting the Project Engineer and Designer, McCloyd Walters to seek answers about the status of the project.
The issue came to light on Monday evening, August 20 during the National Democratic Party's (NDP) radio programme when Walters, who claimed that he has received the royal run around by the Public Works Department (PWD), asked the Minister for answers.
The caller, who identified himself as Walters, told the Minister that the officials at the PWD are avoiding his calls.
"They are not talking to me and if you [Government] decided that you have a problem with my services, let me know that. I don't have a problem with that, but I have a contract with you and to deal with me in terms of the contract," he stated.
Further, he said it is unfortunate that he has a contract with the Government, but has to be forced to take the matter on a radio show because of the unprofessional manner in which the department has been dealing with him.
"I am the same person that has a contract with the Government to design the works and unfortunately I have to call you, actually on the radio, to find out what is happening because I cannot get any information from your Public Works Department as to what is the status of my contract with the PWD; with the Government on this contract after making repeated, repeated calls to the department to find out what the status is."
He added, "I have a contract with the Public Works Department to do this work and if you decided to cancel the contract or whatever then the PWD need to let me know this and they need to deal with me within the context of the contract...As the designer I shouldn´t have to be calling on the radio to ask what is happening with this contract and I am being told from all around the place that I am the one responsible for holding up the project."
In response, Minister Vanterpool indicated that he was not aware of the issue and said he would apologize on behalf of the Public Works Department for the treatment meted out to Walters.
"I agree with you...It´s a fair question and I will certainly take the matter into hands tomorrow and we will be in touch with you very shortly if that is the case. I would apologize on behalf of the Public Works and say that we will get together with you to ensure...I wasn´t aware, so I certainly apologize for any miscommunications there and we will certainly get together shortly," the Minister stated on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, in relation to the status of the project, the Minister said they will be reviewing it over the next few days.
"It´s a discussion that we are having with the Public Works. I cannot give you an exact status as yet. I know I saw something came to the Ministry today for discussion, but the exact status I cannot give you an answer to that right now but I know it's going to be a matter for discussions over the next few days," Minister Vanterpool stated.
This position comes close to three months after his visit to the area in May, and at that site visit where PWD officials, Walters and Hon. Marlon Penn, Eight District Representative were present, Minister Vanterpool said they are looking to have the works completed by July.
"I know time frame is what we are looking at, I will say with directions from Director of Public Works we are probably looking towards the end of July to have this completed," he stated in May.
The damaged road has caused residents to complain for months about the state of the road, especially after heavy rains.
During the visit, Walters said that the road has been a problem for many years and the problem is getting the runoff away from the road through proper drainage. He said that the solution may involve some landowners granting permission for a side drain on their property.
Also in May, Minister Vanterpool stated that funding was allocated to fix it and as soon as the engineers are ready to go we will start.
"It maybe that we might start at the top and as we go along we resolve the bottom section where there are some issues but we want to have some ideas about the drainage first, and we will have some discussions with the landlords as we go along over the next couple of weeks," he explained in May.
When asked about the cost for the project, the Minister said the original figure was in excess of $200,000 but that will have to be upped.
"But I think that would go up when we deal with the drainage issue and probably leveling of the road. So it is probably going to be $300,000 or $350,000, that´s the number I would say roughly," he stated.