Boyce defends Warrens Project
Wed, 04/20/2016 - 12:00am
A Cabinet Minister has dismissed the assertion by Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, that the Warrens Traffic Safety Improvement Project was started without proper planning.
Former Minister of Transport and Works, now Minister of Health, John Boyce, under whom the project was conceptualised contends that the project was drawn up by qualified civil and road works engineers and approved not only by the Ministry, but the Town Planning Department.
However, making his contribution to the debate on a resolution to compulsorily acquire land to complete the project, Boyce did note there were some points he did agree with the Leader of the Opposition on, including the need to clean up the Green Hill/PriceSmart junction. Suggesting that it is an accident waiting to happen, Boyce urged the current Minister of Transport and Works, Michael Lashley to have a team address it soon.
“We never have enough money available to do all the road works required in Barbados and from time to time we have to prioritise our work and she is right. Of course the honourable member put forward a theory this morning that she wants to prioritise it on a basis of need and that is what she will be sticking to from here on in. The truth is, the Friendship development she referred to has been in that condition for a while and not because of the Democratic Labour Party Administration coming to government in 2008, but it was left that way, it was left in that state by her Administration,” he said.
Speaking specifically to the stalled Warrens Traffic Safety Improvement Project, he said the challenge is that they need to settle the payment to landowners for land either already encroached upon, or about to be encroached upon. His comments came as he defended the project explaining that while the project is seriously behind time, that delay is not due to any mischief on the part of the Government.
“It is behind time because of the acquisitions which now have to be completed and of course the payment to the landowners for these acquisitions. There have been times, or there continue to be times in Barbados when in their wisdom the Ministry of Transport and Works may have to acquire small tracts of land for road improvement. I think everyone understands this need, but we also have to put ourselves in the shoes of the landowner who is being disadvantaged to some extent,” he said.
Boyce also pointed out, especially where the land is seriously compromised, Government has a duty to ensure that reconciliation takes place early, as he suggested that there are too many landowners whose property has been used and they have not be compensated, even if a figure has been agreed on. (JRT)