Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister told media Thursday (April 12) afternoon that he has a few concerns with the engineering aspect of the causeway at the Hawksbill Creek (Fishing Hole Road); however, overall he is indeed pleased with the capital works project thus far.
Bannister made the disclosure following a tour of the construction site. The minister and a delegation are on island for a two-day tour of government operated facilities.
“This bridge is a very important linkage, it is going to ensure that the people of Grand Bahama are able, in bad weather, to traverse and communicate, and connect. We wanted to see the progress of the bridge and to get an idea of how we were moving.
“I have two particular concerns that I go back with. The first is the engineering … I am requiring my engineers to live up to very high standards on this project. We saw what happened by Florida International, I cannot accept anything other than the highest standards on this. I have some questions based on what I saw that I am going to be asking them, to ensure that they are on the ball.
“They are not matters to be alarmed about, they are just matters that I want to ensure are complied with and that the bridge is as safe as can be when finished,” said the Works Minister.
“I am not going to tolerate anything that is below the standards that we want. The people of Grand Bahama deserve the best and the highest standards.
“The second thing that I am concerned about is environmental degradation. I think there has to be culverts (transverse and fully enclosed drainage structure that runs under a road or portion of land) under this road. We cannot, continue in The Bahamas, to allow exploitation of our natural environment. I am not concerned with who the authorities are, with respect to that … there has to be a free flow of water. We have too many instances in the country, where we have blocked up water in the communities and we have caused problems in other areas.
“For example, in the Queens Cove area, we should not have water that is already blocked up here where people in Queens Cove are going to flood. We should not be cutting down our natural mangroves anywhere, in an arbitrary manner, just to develop it; we have to protect these areas. I am concerned about those areas. That was the kinds of things that were important for me to see, because these are in communities that our children and grandchildren have to live in,” said Bannister.
Other than the above-mentioned concerns raised, Bannister was questioned whether he was pleased with the progress of the causeway thus far. “We have exceptional staff here, Toni Hudson-Bannister (Assistant Structural Engineer and Officer-in-Charge, Ministry of Works, Grand Bahama) and our Parliamentary Secretary, Iram Lewis are ensuring that work goes on as it ought to.
“I am highly confident about the ministry’s staff here and the professionalism in which they approach their work. I want to make sure that any concerns that they raise, are not taken for granted,” noted the minister.
Following his tour of the causeway Minister Bannister continued his tour to the western end of the island, stopping briefly at the Bartlett Hill Primary School where he was informed of repairs that the school is in need of.
The next stop was the Government Administrative Complex, which is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) development between the Government of The Bahamas and Triple P Construction Company, based in the capital.
Following a tour of that development, Bannister and his delegation visited the West Grand Bahama Junior High School.
The school is being contracted by Brickhouse Construction, where Lloyd Rolle is president.