$80M in upgrades for Aubrey Barker Road, phase one

─ ministerial team meets with South Ruimveldt residents

In keeping with government’s manifesto commitment of ensuring that no region, community or village is left behind, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill M.P., on Thursday, announced that massive upgrades will soon begin on the Aubrey Barker Road in South Ruimveldt, Georgetown.

The minister was speaking during an engagement with residents at the South Ruimveldt Secondary school. Several other ministers were a part of the meeting which was a follow-up to a visit by President, Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali on Saturday last.

Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill engaging with residents.

Minister Edghill disclosed that the estimated cost for phase one of the project will be $80 million.

The minister explained that while the road falls under the Georgetown City council, it will now be treated as a main road which be upgraded, and maintained by the government.

“We’ve had to make some interventions and treat it as a main access road. Phase one of the work to be done on Aubrey Barker which would be from Dynasty all the way to the roundabout is already out for tender and works on that would commence in just a matter of weeks,” he said.

In the 2022 budget, monies were allocated to address drainage, and other infrastructural development in South Georgetown.

While a number of works are already ongoing, South Georgetown is prone to heavy flooding due to improper drainage systems, as such the Ministry of Public Works is committed to ensuring that this issue is resolved.

Ministers at the head table conducting the meeting with residents of South Georgetown.

Minister Edghill further said, “We would have already conducted a full assessment of what needs to be done in terms of the drainage for South Georgetown.”

The minister noted that an engineering solution is in its design stage, and once completed it will be implemented. This, he informed the residents, will be a multi-billion-dollar operation.

“If we attempt to upgrade roads, and we don’t have drainage we are basically throwing money in fire because the roads will soon disappear and be destroyed, because the water will undermine the asphalt, and you’ll get all the potholes and everything going again.

“So, one of the major things that we are working with in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture’s NDIA is to be able to implement a permanent drainage solution,” the public works minister said.

Additionally, a maintenance contractor will be hired in South Ruimveldt to conduct remedial works on roads in the area, until drainage is properly secured, and other roads constructed.

Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha M.P.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister, Zulfikar Mustapha M.P., in brief remarks noted that there are 13 pumps and a number of sluices working in the area, which are being operated and monitored by the City Council.

“And sometimes when we have flood, not because only the drain is blocked, and we are not having the regular flow of water out of the area, but sometimes, many times when our engineers visit these pumps and structures sometimes (they) are inoperable,” he pointed out.

Through the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, 15 persons will be trained by the National Drainage Irrigation Authority (NDIA) to operate the pumps that are being neglected by the City Council.

Further, the agriculture ministry has identified a number of drains and alleyways to be manually desilted. The minister noted that these works will commence shortly to ensure persons can get relief from the flooding in that area.

A section of the gathering at the meeting.

Also, during the meeting a number of issues were raised by the residents. They were assured that the government is committed to providing opportunities for better development.

The ministerial team comprised Minister of Housing and Water, Collin Croal, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, Susan Rodrigues, Minister of Public Works, Bishop Juan Edghill, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Deodat Indar, Minister of Local Government and Regional Development, Nigel Dharamlall, Minister of Agriculture, Zulfikar Mustapha and Minister of Culture Youth and Sports, Charles Ramson Jr.