ST GEORGE’S, Grenada (CMC) — Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell says the construction sector will play a significant role in Grenada’s economic recovery in the era of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mitchell said 2021 could be a watershed year for the Ministry of Infrastructure Development.
“Infrastructure development will lead to economic recovery and job creation. Therefore, the Ministry of Infrastructure Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, must play a significant role. The tourism industry and the services sector have been hard hit by the pandemic.
“It, therefore, means that the public sector investment programme will play a more critical role in job creation through the implementation of the many Government projects we have planned and already secured funding for,” Mitchell said, as he urged the management team and senior staff to push the ministry’s implementation rate.
Mitchell said the ministry has already experienced an improvement in the implementation of projects but that there is room for further improvement.
“Looking ahead, we have to challenge ourselves and measure our performance by the level of implementation. If we can achieve 75 per cent this year that would be ideal. One of the problems was lack of engineers but we have invested heavily in the technical aspect to address that problem. Therefore, our rate of implementation should improve significantly this year.”
Prime Minister Mitchell reaffirmed his Administration’s commitment to moving ahead with major infrastructure projects, including a new residence for the governor general, a new police headquarters, fire station, and a legal complex.
Mitchell said that these projects would be done through the Build, Operate, Lease, Transfer (BOLT) and expressions of interest have already been done for all three projects.
He said that, while funding for the Simon Culture Centre has already been budgeted, the project has been stuck in the design phase for a long time, making it a source of distress for the residents of St Andrew.
Mitchell also said that some parts of the country’s road network require urgent attention to create a smoother ride for motorists and to ease the level of traffic congestion in some areas.
He has cautioned against waste and also underscored the importance of building capacity among local contractors.
“The Ministry of Works had a historical problem of waste. With the financial controls that now exist, we must ensure greater accountability in our operations. We cannot afford to waste the taxpayers’ money.
“On the subject of contracts, I fully support the approach that allows Grenadian contractors to gain experience, but contracts must be awarded to competent persons. It is not about party politics but empowerment of our citizens to do serious work and contribute to the country’s development,” he said.