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Oct 25, 2017

Junior Finance Minister Says Design Issue Will Be Settled

Carla Barnett

In response, Minister of State for Finance, Doctor Carla Barnett, noted that the impact of climate change has forced new thinking in the design and development of infrastructure. She was with the Caribbean Development Bank at the time and knows of the origin of the project and its associated hiccups. But in addition to warning of more headaches for travelers, Doctor Barnett noted that the original allocation did not include funding for designs. With the total financing now available, tendering for designs has begun and the work to get the much needed infrastructure in place is underway.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, U.D.P. Senator

“The original estimate for the bridge, the original funds allocated for the bridge, did not have at the time the loan was being considered, designs; it was an allocation…(Interruption) I am talking about the conversation within C.D.B., sir; I’m not talking about the conversation that was here – I was not here around the table when this was being done. So there was not any real estimate for what it would totally cost; but there was an understanding that it was an essential part of the project, because the bridge – not only because of the realignment, but because the bridge itself was old and failing and needed to be changed, even if we were not replacing it, to re-align it. The funds originally allocated for the bridge by C.D.B. are part of the total cost of the bridge, they are going to be used for the bridge construction. What is happening now is that the full cost of the bridge is going to be covered by co-financing from the OPEC Fund for International Development. So this is an additional cost, now that the bridge has been properly conceptualized, and the design elements have been set out. My understanding is that the process for design, the tendering of the design, has commenced; so there is an understating of what the ballpark is, the final designs are going to be coming in, but we have to be able to proceed with the project once we have all of that in place. It is also my understanding that the OPEC Fund is allocating sufficient funding that the Government’s counterpart contribution will indeed by covered by the loan itself.”

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