Day 2 of IRF Congress a success

―Public-Private Partnerships’ discussions at the forefront

― adequate spending on the design phase of projects encouraged 

DPI, Guyana, Thursday, May 9, 2019

On Thursday, day two of the eighth International Road Federation, Caribbean Regional Congress kicked-off at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre (ACCC) with discussions focusing on a range of topics affecting the road-transportation sector within the region.

Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson, under whose leadership the IRF Congress was organised, provided a comment on the conference to the Department of Public Information (DPI).

“We, as a Caribbean, have persons with unique cultures, unique designs and unique requirements so therefore obviously we are trying to learn from our colleagues, share with our colleagues.”

Presenters at the Congress provided comprehensive informative material to the diverse field of participants. The opening topic, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP): From Strategy to Implementation, drew intense dialogue.

Public-Private Partnership Coordinator within the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Brian Samuel referenced that PPP Jamaica enjoyed the construction of its East-West Highway. In his presentation, the PPP Coordinator highlighted the critical role preparation plays in the execution of projections. “It is vital that you do your homework before you start a project preparation and this what Jamaica did, and this is my alternative definition of PPP: Project Preparation Pays.”

One of the points made in Coordinator Samuel’s presentation was for sufficient monies to be spent during the design phases of projects. He encouraged the participants that hail from countries throughout the Caribbean to embrace this type of spending. “You could not spend enough money on doing these technical traffic studies, legal studies and so on”, Coordinator Samuel said.

In response to this, Minister Patterson communicated to DPI, “everyone says that the more money you put into the feasibility and the proper preparation documents, the better the project will be. So, we will continue what we have been doing in preparing quite well for what is to come for our infrastructure.”

Professor Ronald Fischer from the University of Chile pointed out the opportunities Public Private Partnerships (PPP) present. Notably, he recommended PPP since maintenance works are done on the roads over a period of time, while traditional maintenance tends to occur when roads would have deteriorated to a significant degree. The Professor told the participants that under a PPP, maintenance works for roads are done by the contractor, not by the government, so it releases the burden from governments to continuously repair roads.

Other topics discussed at Thursday’s IRF Congress included Work Zone Safety and Improving Mobility, Construction and Testing, Road Safety Audits, and Innovative Road Procurement.

Friday’s topics for dialogue will include Working Together for a Better Future: Infrastructure in Oil and Gas, Maintenance Programs and Solutions, Road Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility and Road Sector Leadership.

This year’s 8th International Road Federation (IRF) Caribbean Regional Congress is held under the theme: “Modernising the Region’s Roads for Future Generations” and will conclude on Friday, April 9.

Shaquille Bourne.

Images: Ameer Sataur.

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