UPP Candidate Kelvin “Shugy” Simon is slamming the Gaston Browne Administration for the slow pace of progress in the reconstruction of the Cades Bay Bridge. Although the Ministry of Works announced in August that work would be completed in nine weeks, very little progress has been made. Further, there had been virtually no preparation to mitigate against flooding and erosion, with the impending tropical storm earlier this week.
Major destruction occurred along the Cades Bay roadway in November 2020, as a result of intense flooding during a tropical disturbance that dumped 15 inches of rain in a 28-hour period. As a portion of the roadway caved in, it was impassable to motorists, especially small vehicles. As a result, search and rescue personnel had to be deployed from the fire department, police and defence forces.
Reconstruction of the Cades Bay Bridge began in 2021 and since then, the ABLP has recklessly mismanaged this rehabilitation project. Lack of signage warning of the hazards, the overgrowth and obstructions blocking the view of the roadway, as well as poor lighting near the construction site have all contributed to major safety hazards in the area. Not only has it been a major source of disruption for residents and motorists, but has also caused several accidents.
The Gaston Browne administration continues to offer a myriad of excuses while making empty promises about when the bridge will be completed. On August 13 2023, poor signage at the construction site caused a motorist to veer into a 9-foot ravine. The Ministry of Works promptly issued a statement apologizing for the construction delays while indicating that the bridge would be completed within 9 weeks. One month later on Sept 13th, a group of tourists slammed into an embankment and became victims of the ABLP’s gross negligence at the construction site.
In the nine weeks since the Ministry of Works announced the completion timeline, very little work has been done and the safety hazards that were earlier identified have not been addressed. In the wake of recent storm activity, the Browne-led regime has not provided any updates on when the project will be completed, even after further damage in the area has occurred as a result of flooding.
The UPP Candidate for St. Mary’s South is calling on the Prime Minister to tell the population how the Government intends to deal with the widespread flooding, what assistance will be rendered to those affected and when the bridge will be completed.
“History has a way of repeating itself, especially in the weather department. We have been totally neglected in the South and the government has failed to complete this bridge project in a reasonable timeframe. For three years, residents in St. Mary’s South have faced adverse conditions because this administration has not put proactive measures in place to mitigate or prevent flooding. They have failed to clear watercourses or build proper drainage. We are now in the throes of the hurricane season and tropical storm Philippe has caused further damage to the roads leading to the Cades Bay Bridge.”
Simon noted that while the Prime Minister has prioritized the safety of the Alfa Nero, by having the yacht moved from Falmouth Harbour to the St. John’s Harbour ahead of the storm, he has failed once again to deal with the critical issues facing the people of St. Mary’s South and the rest of the country.
“The people of St. Mary’s South have no confidence in this Government’s ability to address the Cades Bay Bridge. They continue to demonstrate total disregard for road safety and the welfare of residents and visitors that either live in, or traverse the area. We are outraged at the lack of urgency demonstrated by the ABLP administration in addressing the Cades Bay Bridge and the major safety issues that it has caused throughout the community,” Simon says.
Simon believes that as the government scrambles to address and 11th hour infrastructural upgrades the people throughout the country are watching closely. “This just reminds us that Gaston Browne is totally oblivious – or indifferent – to the real needs of the people. He will say anything to play on our emotions. Voters in St. Mary’s South will lead the way in rejecting this government. Vote for Kelvin “Shugy” Simon, a strong leader who puts PEOPLE FIRST!”
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