The United Workers Party (UWP) has refuted claims that its government was responsible for the commissioning report of the Bois D’Orange Bridge, which will now cost EC$11 million.
Former Communication and Works Minister Guy Joseph told the media today that an initial design report on the bridge, done in December 2011 indicates that the construction cost was EC$3.7 million.
Joseph, who was in receipt of the document, provided a breakdown on the cost of the bridge. He said the World Bank -Disaster Relief Fund project was divided into four parts and the report was completed by FDL Consultants.
These included: Part 1 (general items) $917,600, Part 2 (demolition and site clearance) $42,500, Part 3 (bridge works) $2 million and Part 4 (road works) $234,265. The subtotal grand summary was $3,257, 280.
However, money set aside for contingencies, only if required was set at 15 per cent or $488,592. This figure would have taken the entire project cost to EC$3,745, 872.
“How did we arrive at a bridge costing $11 million and how can the Minister of Infrastructure come and make a claim in the parliament of St. Lucia that the UWP government commissioned the study for the bridge and the bridge that we designed would cost $11 million?” Joseph questioned.
The former government minister reminded that the UWP was no longer in officer after November 28 of that same year.
Joseph said he is still baffled by the statement made by Minister Phillip J Pierre, but claims that he has information that the minister had commissioned a new study, which may have led to the project costing $11 million.
Joseph said when he is in receipt of those documents, he will present them to the media. “The Government of St. Lucia owes the people of St. Lucia and parliament an apology for giving us wrong information about who commissioned the study to design this EC$11 million bridge,” he added.
Joseph said while government has hinted that the bridge is being built to accommodate four lanes instead of two lanes, they have also made it clear that having additional lanes will not affect the cost of the project.
The former works minister said even in the case where the cost of the bridge was doubled, it still would not have reached $11 million. He said the price would have been around $7 million instead.