Residents of Chateau Margot, East Coast Demerara, are complaining about what they describe as a waste of taxpayers’ money. They say that the recent road construction in their area is shoddy.
Another issue that was also highlighted was the barricading of the entrance of the streets that were constructed.
Businessman in the area, Dennis Ramah, said that construction workers visited their village and carried out road construction that started last month.
He explained that the workers graded the road to the level of the parapet, then there was a mixture of reef sand, loam and white sand added to a certain level and compacted by a roller.
“Half an hour later they come back and throw some crush and run. Then they come back and spread some tar on the crush and throw some sand and roll it; then they come back throw some stones with some more tar and then put this sand on it.”
Ramah said, “If you put your foot into the road and just rub it the stone and tar is coming off….This cannot cost more than $3M for the three streets”
The residents contended that when a project is being done in an area there should be a billboard clearly stating the contract, its financing and other relevant information; so that the people that will be benefiting from such contracts, could prevent shoddy construction.
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, recently said that project implementation is a sore issue for Government and that the Office of the President has issued a mandate which calls for enhanced monitoring and greater supervision of Government funded interventions.
To do this, the Ministry of Local Government and by extension their regional and neighbourhood offices are embracing a number of approaches.
One of these is an initiative called Voluntary Supervision. Also known as ‘Social Auditing’, it calls upon community-minded residents who will have open and full access to information on projects being undertaken in their communities as well as the service providers on those works.
It gives the residents access to Bills of Quantity and Project Specifications. However, this does not appear to be the case in Chateau Margot.
Ramah, the concerned resident and businessman, said that he visited many of the local authorities (NDC), the Ministry of Local government, the Ministry of Transport and Hydraulic and even the Office of the President but got nowhere with his complaint.
“I visited the NDC on October 13, and saw the overseer and some other officers and they said that they have no knowledge about the building of the road, although it was almost complete…The chairman also said so too.”
Adding that he also visited the Ministry of Finance, Ramah said that one Pooran told him that finances were only allotted to build the road. “He didn’t tell me the specification or the cost…he then ask me if I am an engineer.”
He further said that upon meeting an official at the Ministry of Transport and Hydraulic on another issue which was the barricading of the roads that were recently done, he was told that the “ Finance Minister gave instructions to block the roads with the barricade that were several feet high.”
Residents collectively agreed that the barricades that were placed in the various streets would prevent fire engines from entering the area since the barricades are bolted to a post that would need to be loosened before any entry.
It was also disclosed that trucks that would normally bring in supplies for businesses in the area are prevented from entering.
Another instance where community projects do not live up to par is that of the recent road works in Diamond, East Bank Demerara, where a concerned resident had to blow the whistle on a contractor who was not fulfilling his obligations regarding the contract specifications.
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