pageTwo multimillion-dollar rehabilitation projects in Bridgetown are on track to finish by the end of January next year, but the contractors are experiencing major problems with theft, indiscriminate dumping and vandalism.

Before the start of an extensive tour of the Constitution River Drainage Improvements Phase ll and the Church Village Redevelopment Project, project officer with the Barbados Tourism Investment Incorporated, Sharon Griffith, told a news briefing that about $20,000 worth in bricks were removed from the pavement that formed part of the Constitution River Phase 1 scheme.

“We are looking to have them replaced – and more securely replaced,” Griffith said.

She pleaded with Barbadians to stop vandalizing the projects or stealing property.

“We need your assistance in terms of public education and asking adults, if it is the children removing the bricks, to help us in terms of getting the children not to do that. If they continue to do that, one, there is a safety issue, because you can have a blind person walking along there; and we all know when the path stops, what could happen,” noted the BTI project officer.

She recalled, too, that the buoys which were installed early in Phase 1 of the Constitution River venture were stolen.

“There is not only theft of the buoys, but also the metal gratings for the drainage across the pedestrian bridge. Those were stolen, nearly a year and a half ago. So there is a lot

of theft of public property for most of the projects. That’s a major problem,” lamented Griffith.

She observed that people did not seem to appreciate that these pieces of property had to be replaced with taxpayers’ money. She told reporters she hoped that trees being planted for both projects would not be vandalised.

“Church Village is going to be monitored by the Central Bank; so you are going to be watched. And also the Royal Barbados Police Force. Director and principal engineer with DNL Consultants, Ian Nicholls, complained about serious indiscriminate dumping in the Constitution River channel and urged a widespread public awareness programme to help address it.

“One issue which has come to the fore on this project is the indiscriminate disposal of garbage within the channel. While some of this stuff comes from upstream of our works from the Greater Bridgetown area, there is still a significant [number] of food containers, other debris that you see being

dumped into the channel every day,” Nicholls stated. He said this refuse eventually ended up in the Careenage, in Carlisle Bay, and was an issue which all must be sensitized

to, “because this is a huge problem”. “This is something that has to be dealt with on a weekly

basis by the contractor. When this project is over, there will be no contractor there to be dealing with this, and we need to sensitize everyone that this is not the way to do things,” pointed out the engineer.

“Another issue,” he continued, “is the area of theft. Here is an area of Phase 1, this area is just after completion. This is a shot taken a few weeks ago in the same area, which shows a systematic removal of paving stones from the project: an issue which we should all be concerned about because it is all our money . . . . The pace at which these bricks are being removed has accelerated significantly in the last year or so.”

Nicholls also complained about defacing of the walls within the project by graffiti or placing of posters. (EJ)

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