Road relief on the way, says Sinckler
Relief is being promised to residents living in communities with badly damaged roads.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler said Government was in the final stages of discussions with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for a US$70 million loan to be used over two years under the Barbados Country Strategy.
Sinckler made the announcement in the House of Assembly this afternoon as he tabled a resolution for Government to borrow $35 million from the Republic Bank (Barbados) Limited to repay a line of credit.
Sinckler said the administration was also in preliminary negotiations with the Development Bank of Latin America, CAF, on a loan to facilitate emergency road rehabilitation next year.
“Our expectation is that in the first quarter of 2015, if all goes well with those negotiations, we should be able to start that work both in rural areas, which need particular attention and also in the urban corridor, in Christ Church, St Michael, St James and so forth, where there are a number of roads that are in need of urgent attention,” he said.
Sinckler said representatives of the ministries of Finance and Transport and Works were due to meet tomorrow to begin gathering data on roads that were in need of attention.
He said members of parliament would also be given the opportunity to provide information on priority areas.
Meantime, in explaining the reason for the resolution, Sinckler said the $35 million was advanced to Government for road works following excessive rainfall in October 2010.
He pointed out that considerable damage had been done to a number of secondary roads, as well as major arteries, while bridges were also damaged.
While the Caribbean Risk Insurance Facility provided funds for some remedial work to be done on Wharf Road, Bridgetown, the Minister said more funds were needed.
“This facility became available to us and we took the responsibility of utilizing that line of credit and we did so on the understanding that over time we would transform that line of credit as is normally the case for these types of facilities into a term loan,” he explained.
“We have deemed it necessary in the circumstances to bring this to book and have it placed as a facility on the Government’s debt register since we’ve been servicing the loan. The terms and conditions are extremely favourable. It is being offered below prime. The prime for this type of facility now being offered in the marketplace is around eight per cent, we’re getting it at 5.25 per cent per annum . . .” Sinckler said.