KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Transport and Works Minister Sen. Julian Francis is encouraging persons not the patch potholes with concrete, saying this creates greater problems for road repair personnel.
Francis’ call came Sunday night after ‘Nature’ Nigel Stephenson, parliamentary representative for South Leeward, said on radio Saturday that he and residents of Bottom Questelles were going to use concrete to repair roads there.
Vincentians continue to complain about dilapidated roads, one month after the government released EC$5 million for road repairs.
Some citizens have reverted to filling in potholes with concrete, a practice not sanctioned by Ministry of Transport and Works officials.
“Yesterday, I was listening Nice Radio … and I hear Nature come on and telling them … that he going down in Bottom Questelles from 6 o’clock this morning to patch hole with concrete because he looking ‘round the constituency and he see a whole set a black stuff all over the place and he ain’t see none in Bottom Questelles,” Francis said at a Unity Labour Party rally in Vermont.
“So, I called the police and I advised the police to advise Mr. Stephenson that he should not go and interfere with the government road because he is not the Minister of Transport and Works. I happen to be that and that we have a contractor already lined up,” Francis further said.
He further suggested that roads in Vermont would be repaired before others in the constituency because of the strong support for the ULP there.
“Vermont road was number one. Because comrade, if [Prime Minister Dr.] Ralph Gonsalves going to patch road in his constituency, Park Hill and South Rivers road get fix first. Inside of South Leeward, when you patching road, Vermont road get fix first,” Francis said.
He, however, said that this does not mean that other roads in the constituency would not be fixed.
He further explained that concrete breaks away from asphalt, making the potholes “worse”.
“So, I am advising people: If there is a hole in front of you and it ain’t patch yet, put some rocks in it, put some dirt in it for now. Don’t put concrete in it, because you are wasting your cement that you can build your back wall with. Because as soon as we come and patch the road, we have to dig up the cement,” Francis said.
“The police, acting on instructions from the powers that be, came to tell me that we are not to proceed!” Stephenson said on his Facebook page of the incident.
“They have said that if this constituency, and community self-help effort goes on, the roads will be dug up since BRAGSA [Roads, Building and General Services Authority] has plans to fix them,” he further said.