ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ASKED BY THE MEMBER FOR THE THIRD DISTRICT
TO THE MINISTER FOR TRANSPORTATION, WORKS AND UTILITIES
AT THE THIRD SITTING OF THE FIFTH SESSION
OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
FRIDAY, 17TH MAY 2019
The Member for the Third District to ask the Honourable Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities the following questions:
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House:
- How much money was spent on asphalt in the weeks just prior to the 2019 General Elections?
- The specific areas and District in which the Asphalt was used and the cost for each project or area?; and
- How was the initiative funded?
- Mister Speaker, since taking office on 1st March, 2019, as the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities, the research of the Ministry’s files reveals that a total of Four Million, Two Hundred and Three Thousand, Four Hundred and Forty Dollars ($4,203,440.00) was approved on 22nd January, 2019 by the Cabinet of the Virgin Islands. Please note that this course of action was on the heels of the 25th February, 2019 General Elections.
- Mister Speaker, please see Appendix A as requested by this Honourable House.
c) Mister Speaker, the initiative to asphalt the roads on the heels of the 25th February, 2019 General Elections was funded by local funds.
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House whether his Ministry has a comprehensive programme being devised for the redesign of the Territory roads and drains, that is in keeping with the needs to mitigate against the challenges faced by disasters such as Hurricane Irma?
Mister Speaker, this has been a long standing issue. Since taking office on 1st March, 2019, this Government has made this matter a high priority under the Ministry of Transportation, Works and Utilities. A comprehensive programme is now being developed for the redesign of the Territory’s roads and drains with various agencies, including the Public Works Department, the Recovery and Development Agency and the Ministry of Finance’s Project Support Services Unit. A Climate Risk and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) will be undertaken as a part of the design process to ensure that the rehabilitated infrastructures are strengthened against climate risks. Periodically, I intend to keep this House of Assembly informed of the progress of this initiative.
Mister Speaker, at the Sixth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Third House of Assembly, it was confirmed by the then Minister that the people serviced by the Hannah Hill Reservoir were operating under a schedule, usually from 4AM to 10:30AM daily. Could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House if there has been any changes?
Mister Speaker, since taking office on 1st March, 2019, my technical team has informed me that the schedule is still in place, however, it is subject to no disruptions on the network.
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House why is it that he has a water Plant at Bar Bay in the East of the island with a production capacity of 500,000 gallons a day which is not used to supply water to Balsam Ghut Reservoir, but instead elects to take water from the Sabbath Hill Reservoir to Balsam Ghut, thus creating a rationing situation in places where the Sabbath Hill Reservoir was intended to serve?
Mister Speaker, the Member would appreciate that this matter is long standing, long before me taking office as the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities on 1st March, 2019. Nevertheless, I have been informed by my technical team that the water plant at Bar Bay is currently sending water to the Hodge’s Creek Reservoir which supplies the lower lying areas of East End to Beef Island. The elevation of the Sabbath Hill Reservoir provides more efficient pressure management across the Ridge Road to Balsum Ghut. When using the water plant at Bar Bay to pump water uphill to Balsum Ghut, the pressures are too high for the lower lying areas which results in breakages.
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House the whereabouts of the pumps that were previously promised to be installed in the vicinities of Foncy’s, and Ellis Thomas Downs almost two years ago in this Honourable House?
Mister Speaker, since taking office as the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities on 1st March, 2019, I continue to do thorough research and planning pertaining to many outstanding issues of which this is one. My research has revealed that the pumps were never purchased.
Mister Speaker, my findings was astounding, hence, I enquired further. This is when my technical team informed me that they concluded that the pumps were not a practical approach and a better approach would be to implement a pressure management programme which will be undertaken during the Ridge Road Water Programme.
Mister Speaker, I am not at ease to know that this matter remains unaddressed after so many years. However, I intend to continue to vigorously pressure this matter until it is adequately addressed.
Mister Speaker, at the Eleventh Sitting of the Second Session of the Third House of Assembly on 13th November, 2017, the Minister for Communications and Works told this Honourable House that his Ministry was committed to ensuring a 24 hour supply of water to all customers of the territory. And with particular regards to the Third District they remained focused on upgrades. Could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please give the status of the following:
- The upgrade to the electrical supply at Diamond, which we were told was in progress at the time?;
- The installation of a Pump Station at Long Trench, which we were told was in progress at the time?;
- The pumps which we were told was already purchased, and for which a contract was already awarded for the construction of the Pump House?; and
- Was the Pump House constructed, and who was the contractor?
Mister Speaker, for the record, I am only the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities since 1st March, 2019, notwithstanding, I intend to relay to this Honourable House the information provided to me by my technical team. They have informed me of the following:
a) Mister Speaker, the Diamond Pump Station electrical supply was completed in December, 2018.
b) Mister Speaker, the building for the Long Trench Pump Station has been completed and Tender documents are being finalised for the procurement of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing supplies.
c) Mister Speaker, the pumps are currently on island and installation is pending the procurement of the additional mechanical components.
d) Mister Speaker, the Pump House at Long Trench was constructed by Outer Limits Trucking and Garbage Disposal.
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House how each of the upgrades indicated in Question 6 above are intended to improve the water situation in the Third District?
Mister Speaker, again, I must state for the record, that since taking office on 1st March, 2019, I continue to probe on matters of this nature. My technical team has informed me that the before-mentioned upgrades are expected to double water flows, provide a more reliable water supply and eliminate water distribution sharing in the Third District.
Mister Speaker, this is what my technical team has informed.
Mister Speaker, could the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities please tell this Honourable House whether:
- He now has access to the $3.5 million that was approved by Cabinet in August of 2018 for the purpose of addressing the water issues?;
- How much of the money was used to date?; and
- Give a schedule for the actions to be undertaken?
- Mister Speaker, I crave your indulgence as I once again highlight for the record that I have been the Minister for Transportation, Works and Utilities since 1st March, 2019. The records in the Ministry have revealed that One Million, Six Hundred and Thirty-Three Thousand Dollars ($1,633,000.00) was allotted to Head 3271100; Subhead 581110 – Water Network Improvement Project (local).
- Mister Speaker, a total of Three Hundred, Thirty-Seven Thousand, Seventy-Five Dollars and Fifty Cents ($337,075.50) has been spent to date.
- Mister Speaker, please see Appendix B as requested by this Honourable House. I will now read the actions to be taken that were on file prior to my tenure.