Initially scheduled to be completed on Wednesday, the Cemetary Road Widening Project currently stands unfinished. Public Works Minister, Bishop Juan Edghill told the National Assembly on Thursday that the delay is a direct result of heavy rainfall, the sloth in removal of utility poles and wires in the area and men falling sick to what they believe was a supernatural force.
The minister was at the time responding to questions raised by Opposition Parliamentarian, Annette Ferguson. The Bishop told the House that the contractor was forced to change several teams after workers began falling ill.
Edghill noted that because of the presence of the cemetery and the “superstitious nature” of the country, workers would be advised by their families not to return, fearing that their illnesses were supernatural in origin. The Minister said that more and more workers began staying away, placing pressure on the contractor to reach demands.
Edghill said that another reason for the delay was rainfall. He told the House that one of the biggest challenges for the contractor was to prevent the intrusion of water from the cemetery into the work site.
“Waters from the burial ground have been coming in. We have sought some engineering interventions to dispose of the water,” the Minister said. Notwithstanding the challenges of this particular task, Edghill said that “significant developments” have been made.
Edghill, however, refrained from committing to an amended deadline but assured that the project will be completed before the end of this year.
He also informed the House that his ministry has given no objection to the primary contractor sub-contracting portions of work. The Minister said that he is confident that this new measure will lead to a “speeding up” of the project.
The third hurdle is the removal of utility lines and poles in and around the site without causing major disruption to citizens in the general vicinity.
He said, “GPL has indicated to me when I inquired about the delays, is that they are scheduling the work, which will all be completed by August 5 to minimise power interruptions during the hours when citizens are benefitting, whether it is on weekends and the rest of it. So, we have to do some removal of utilities, which are electrical poles and wires, and they would like to do it in such a way that would reduce interruptions.”