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Ecuadorian soldiers and Vincentian government officials at the ceremony on Tuesday. (IWN photo)
Ecuadorian soldiers and Vincentian government officials at the ceremony on Tuesday. (IWN photo)
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Vincentian and Ecuadorian officials have lauded south-south cooperation as Ecuador Army Corps of Engineers prepare to rebuild four bridges that were destroyed by the trough system in St. Vincent last December.

The total cost of the Bailey bridges, one of which will be the nation’s longest, is US$4 million.

This country will provide the Bailey Bridges, while Ecuador will pay for the abutments and other elements, including local labour.

Speaking at a ceremony in Penniston, where the longest bridge will be built, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves noted that Maj. Manuel Querembas, who is heading the 45-member team from Ecuador, has said that his country is giving from the little that it has.

“And that is the mark of a true friend,” Gonsalves said, adding that of all the countries that help St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) in rebuilding after the disaster, Ecuador has acted “most promptly”.

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The trough system last Christmas Eve left 12 persons dead, and loss and damage totalling EC$330 million — 17 per of the gross domestic product.

Gonsalves noted that Ecuador and SVG are members of ALBA, which he described as a very important multinational grouping, of which the CARICOM nations of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, and St. Lucia are also members.

“And the idea is to have an organisation of solidarity,” he said, adding that this country, which will teach 200 Ecuadorian teachers English from January, can make a contribution to Ecuador.

The new Hope Bridge will be the longest in SVG. (IWN photo)
The new Hope Bridge will be the longest in SVG. (IWN photo)

Santiago Martínez Espíndola, minister counsellor at the Embassy of Ecuador in Guatemala, which is also accredited to SVG, told the ceremony that in March, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño informed the embassy that Quito will rebuild the four bridges lost in the disaster.

“Today, October 28, 2014, I have the honour to represent the government of Ecuador in the opening of the works, as members of the Ecuadorian Corps of Army Engineers will be doing in the coming months,” he said.

Espíndola said since coming to office, President of Ecuador Raphael Correa has brought about many positive changes in Ecuador, including a redefined relationship with countries across the region and around the world, to achieve a positive impact through international instruments signed.

Correa believes that South-South cooperation is a powerful tool for strengthening the brotherhood and the economies of Latin American and Caribbean countries, Espíndola said.

“Under this scheme, … international solidarity is strictly observed in the frame of our modest possibilities,” he said.

The diplomat said that Ecuador’s Army Corps of Engineers is highly respected in their country, due to the reliability, efficiency with which they perform their tasks.

“I am sure they will have the support of local authorities and the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the diplomat said, adding, “… the sole purpose of doing this construction is to get closer to our people as we are brothers, equals, respectable, in solidarity”.

Querembas promised at the ceremony that his team will complete the construction of the bridges, within the eight-month schedule.

“We are soldiers, and, as part of Ecuadorian Armed Forces, we will accomplish our goal, supported by the virtue and willingness to give our best, respecting the law and the people of this country, taking care of its environment, respecting its culture and tradition of St. Vincent,” he said.

4 replies on “South-South ties lauded as Ecuador builds bridges in SVG”

    1. peter your comment is misleading, erecting a bailey bridge is one thing, what about the abutments. They are going to reconstruct all the concrete support. Years ago military personnel from the USA were here doing similar work, so what if military officers from Ecuador is here helping us. Peter the only thing u can do very well is complain and belittle people who don’t share your opinion.

  1. jigsaw, if the buttress’s were to be reaired they should have been installed before the Bailey bridges are erected, that is something that Vincentians are now fairly expert at.

    Those should have been taken care of before we called the troops in, before the occupation started.

    What tends to happen is the bridges are put in place and then at some time work is carried out beneath them.

    But if your not going to rebuild proper bridges at sometime in the future, just scoop out the debris and erect the bridges.

    Bailey bridges are installed in a couple of days so as people can still move about, then shortly thereafter one at a time they are removed and new bridges are built. This whole operation by the ULP regime is a nonsense, and is evidence that they have no intention of rebuilding the original bridges.

    You really are a silly Billy, do you really believe it could take eight months to erect 4 bridges.

    Open your eyes brother and stop your silly comments. You obviously can see no further than the end of your nose.

  2. Peter u r trying your best to mislead the public on anything this ULP Government do. And as I said, all u good at is belittling people, You are a very angry, hateful and vindictive person. No one will ever take you serious if you continue to lambaste people who disagree with you. What happened peter, you think what ever you write is the gospel? The fact is Ecuadoran soldiers are here to help us whether you like it or not. And one more thing why would you suggest erecting the bailey bridges on those unstable platform, go and take a look at the area where those bridges are going to be built and tell the public the truth. You are so vindictive and ostentatious that your thoughts are corrupted.

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