Last week, a government release said that works would begin “very shortly” on the two bridges which are anticipated to yield a combined cost of $4.8 million.
The government had informed that the structures will be done “under a finance and build mechanism” in which the “repayment obligation will only commence after both bridges have been satisfactorily completed based on the technical and quality imperatives of the ministry of infrastructure.”
“The deputy prime minister again assured that all infrastructure projects to be undertaken by the government of Saint Lucia will be executed with the principles of accountability and transparency,” the government release said.
In a press release on Monday, the UWP posed questions to the St. Lucia Labour Party Administration asking for a direct time frame for the commencement of these projects.
“The United Workers Party is aware of the extreme discomfort and anxieties experienced by resident motorist and commuters as well as members of the general public as a result of the deplorable condition of these two bridges. The two bridges which are a vital infrastructural component of the communities of Mocca and Deville are extremely important in facilitating access to community and municipal resources and services,” the UWP said.
“In addition the poor condition of the two bridges has had the negative impact of cutting-off or restricting traditional family and social interaction between the various settlements. Of greatest concern is the fact that the safety and health standards of residents within these two communities are seriously compromised as emergency vehicles are unable to traverse the dysfunctional infrastructure to render critical services. The UWP therefore calls on the minister of infrastructure to provide specific information indicating timelines for actual commencement of work and the method to be employed for the award of the contract for construction of these vital bridges,” the party stated.
Moreover, the party called on government to disclose whether reports that a direct contract has already been awarded for these projects are true.
“The UWP is therefore calling on the minister responsible and the prime minister who is the minister of finance to clarify the status of the awarding of contracts for these two projects. We are also seeking assurances on the integrity of the related process. It is the hope of the United Workers Party that the award of contracts for these two projects will be subjected to an open tendering process in which qualified construction firms from across the island will be allowed the opportunity to make submissions for consideration,” the party said.
In addition, the UWP said, it is hopeful “that the minister will be disposed to clearing the air on whether or not the Government recently approved a direct award for construction of the Mocca and Deville Bridges in Soufriere. Disclosure on this matter is of particular interest given concerns expressed by members of the public regarding the over $6 million Bonne Terre Bridge which was commissioned through direct award.”