I Didn't Know Young Men Not Paid

Melissa Edwards, Senior Reporter | 2 Opinions
Published: May 16, 2017 12:30 pm AST
Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Several young men in the First District are still waiting to be paid for work done in Fort Recovery, back in December 2016. However, Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works said that he was not aware of this, but was quickly pulled up by Hon. Andrew Fahie, who reminded him that he was informed months ago.

Opposition Leader, Hon. Fahie, who is also the Representative of the First District, enquired if all the contractors that worked on the project in Fort Recovery have been paid. The project was spearheaded by the Water and Sewerage Department, and involved the installing of pipes, among other works, in December 2016.

"It is my understanding that payments have not yet been made. Madam Speaker, I anticipate that payments will be made within the next week or two," Hon. Vanterpool responded.

Hon. Fahie said that he prefers that the Minister provide a firm answer, because the young men are getting agitated over the fact that they are owed for a lengthy period.

"I have brought this matter to the attention of all the authorities that I could bring it to, and I am always getting a guarantee that they are going to be paid, and they are not being paid."

He added, "I have to drive through my constituency every day to some of them in quite some hostile manner towards me, because they are not being paid. So is this a high priority so that these young men who worked in the First District are paid."

Minister Vanterpool then indicated that he was only made aware of the matter when it came to the House of Assembly.

"I empathize with the member and I want to let him know that we will do everything possible to ensure these individuals are paid. I apologize on behalf of the Ministry for this.”

The Minister claimed, “It was only brought to my attention at this questioning period. I will do everything possible I can to ensure they are paid," Hon. Vanterpool said.

However, the First District Representative further jogged the Minister's memory.

"The only thing you probably forgot Minister, I sent WhatsApp messages to remind you, sent to the Permanent Secretary, and everybody say that they are going to work on it…I do keep my little record...I don’t think it is the first; it probably slipped you."

Unfinished Projects

Meanwhile, Hon. Fahie also sought updates on the Capoon's Bay/Little Apple Bay drainage project and the Frenchman's Cay's bridge project.

Minister Vanterpool said that the original design for the drainage project, as intended, did not meet the requirements of the area. To this end, engineers have since revisited the design, as well as the pumps that have been procured.

"The engineers are currently working on final designs, which will allow for the project to function as intended, and in the best interest of the community. The project is expected to be completed this year. Madam Speaker, as the designs have not been fully completed, I am not able to give an estimated cost at this time," he said.

The Minister explained that the project is expected to capture and take in all overflow storm waters within the Capoon’s Bay/Little Apple Bay area from its lowest point, and through the flood water pumps, disperse the water into the sea in the vicinity of Western Section Registration Section Block 2235B Parcel 44, thereby preventing or mitigating potential flooding.

In relation to the Frenchman’s Cay bridge, he said that based on the engineering assessment that was completed on the bridge during the month of June 2016, the conclusion of the engineers was that the bridge was structurally sound and they did not uncover any evidence of structural failure or deficiencies.

Minister Vanterpool stated that arrangements are being made to deal with the flaking of the concrete cover over the rebars within the next quarter, and the yearly inspection is expected to be completed by September 2017.

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