Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Renewal, Philip Brave Davis, met with engineers in Abaco and indicated that assessments are ongoing and road work will be “underway in short order.”
Mr. Davis said that there are plans underway to pave the roads in Abaco with asphalt and engineers are looking at the logistics in early July and are ensuring that they procure asphalt locally at a reasonable price.
He indicated that they have faced challenges getting a reasonable rate as the persons who are able to supply the asphalt are competitors to the contractor, Simmons Construction and Heavy Equipment Company, and “we felt the price they were charging for the asphalt was exorbitant.”
However, he noted that they now have an arrangement for asphalt with the supplier that they find is reasonable. “So we had our civil engineer down to assess and work with the contractor and supplier to ensure that it is built at a reasonable and acceptable cost to the Bahamian people.”
He met with Simmons Construction Company to confirm the source of the material with them and to review the complaints about shoddy workmanship.
Mr. Davis said the issue was “not really shoddy work but was due to problems of traffic management and the rain, and the fact that they are not putting on black top but sand and seal which is easily disturbed when there is not time for it to be cured.”
The engineers are examining the logistics of drainage and gullies as a part of the accommodations work. “What I promised Abaconians…we will fulfill for them those things so that they will have little challenge with their use of the roads in this part of the community.”
On the question of Simmons Construction Company’s ability to provide quality work he said “There’s no doubt in my mind that they have the capacity to execute the works. I think they will shore up their staffing.”
He explained that the challenge for Simmons Construction Company, which may have contributed, “is the fact that for many years they have not had much work of the kind they now do. That does not diminish the ability to do the work. What happened is most of their good workers would have been laid off or otherwise employed. He has now been bringing them back on board now that he has some work to do.”
He added “I understand that people will not accept his reasons but it is always where the cry comes from. It’s very difficult to please everyone and often times those who are not pleased make the loudest noise.”