The rehabilitation of ten feeder roads, funded by the European Union through the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) programme has been criticized by Member of Parliament (MP) for the Wesley Constituency.
Senator Ezekiel Bazil, who emphasized that motorable feeder roads are essential in order for farmers to produce, called on government to increase its budgetary allocation for feeder road rehabilitation.
“We need to put serious investments into the feeder roads, Mr. Speaker, if we are to send farmers back to their farms…We need to get the farmers to have proper access,” Mr. Bazil told Parliament.
Senator Bazil, who was contributing to the budgetary debate for the fiscal year 2018-2019, said “we have approximately one hundred miles of feeder roads on this island, thereabout; ninety percent of which was destroyed or badly damaged between [Tropical Storm] Erica and [Hurricane] Maria”.
He lamented that only 7.5 million dollars was allocated for feeder roads, “this is only catering, from what we have seen Mr. Speaker, for about fifteen miles of repair and rehabilitation”.
Senator Bazil added that with ninety percent damage, “we are looking at seventy-five miles of damaged feeder roads that are going be left unattended within the coming year, and that is going to be a problem”.
“The sad thing about the repair of these feeder roads is that they are all under the BAM programme. All Dominicans know, Mr. Speaker, that the management of feeder roads under the BAM Project has been a total failure,” Mr. Bazil said.
The ten feeder roads, which were divided into three contracts, are worth over twenty million dollars. The contracts were signed with three overseas contractors in May 2016.
According to Senator Bazil, the construction standards of the feeder roads “have been poor”.
“The roads are inferior, the drains lead directly to farmers holdings; they have serious soil erosion as a result and that’s creating a serious hazard. The concrete, Mr. Speaker, is of the poorest quality and Mr. Speaker that is unacceptable,” Senator Bazil stated.
Further, he lamented that monitoring of these projects is “non-existent and that is not helping”.
The contract for Lot 1 was awarded to Philippe Valbon, Managing Director of Trayvis EURL of Martinique 2.2 million Euros or $6.7 million EC. This lot includes the Syndicate and Mero, Cuba, Salisbury feeder roads.
The contract for Lot 2 was awarded to Charles Daher, Managing Director of Nationwide Mobile Concrete Suppliers Limited of St Lucia in the amount 1.3 million Euros or 3.7 million EC dollars. It includes the Middle Ridge, Mango Gutter, Motine, Ti Grand Fond, Fweyal-Bois Dernier and Bois Bellevue.
The contract for Lot 3 was awarded to Roland Coursil, General Manager of Travaux Publics Batiments of Martinique in the amount of 3.03 Euro or 9.1 million EC. It includes the Melville Hall and Colihaut feeder roads.
Rehabilitation of access road to the Londonderry Tissue Culture Weaning and Hardening Facility was awarded to Offshore Civil and Marine Inc of Dominica in the amount of 633,000 Euros or 1.9 million EC.