Minister within the Ministry of Public Infrastructure, Jaipaul Sharma says that while the Ministry budgets for maintenance work, vandalism and sabotage to public infrastructure including traffic lights, power poles, kokers, bridges, batteries, among other equipment put a strain on the Ministry.
The Minister added that many times, monies budgeted for scheduled maintenance works often have to be used for damage repairs and replacements.
“Deliberate damage to public infrastructure costs us money. We budget for routine maintenance but these types of damage cost us large sums of additional money.”
This, he said, makes it very challenging for the Ministry to effectively and efficiently carry out its maintenance operations.
“When something is broken people want it to be fixed, they are not concerned with politics or the logistics; they just want it to be fixed, but this costs us money. We have to find the money to do the repairs and replacements, which in turn puts a strain on the Ministry.”
Subject Minister David Patterson had shared similar sentiments on the issue recently. Speaking to Kaieteur News, he said that deliberate damage to infrastructure has been a longstanding issue for the Ministry.
Also, at the Ministry’s end-of-year press conference, Minister Patterson noted that vandalism and theft is not only a problem for the Ministry but rather, a problem for everyone. He added that the Ministry cannot do it all alone; citizens need to play their part in reporting such actions.
Giving an example of the recklessness of drivers and individuals, he further pointed out that in 2019 the Ministry installed 4,712 street lights, and in 2018 they installed an equal number of lights. “Imagine at night some driver goes and runs into a post… after a night of merriment, speeding or recklessness that driver takes down two of the posts and puts an entire area in darkness. The Ministry will have to spend additional money to repair or replace same.”
In addition to this, he highlighted the fact that some citizens think that public property is theirs to take, noting that “we installed solar lights in certain areas…and they steal those solar lights.”
Other recent instances of vandalism include: 28 batteries being stolen from traffic light units; the complete removal of the koker door at Phoenix; vandalism to the outer koker door at Success Village; the lifting of the koker door at Blenheim Village and tampering of the koker door at Amsterdam, Leguan, which led to millions of dollars in damage and severe flooding in the these areas.
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