Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 13, 2017 (SKNIS): Minister of Public Infrastructure, Posts, Urban Development and Transport, the Honourable Ian ‘Patches’ Liburd, said that the theme for the 2018 Budget “Putting People First in the Pursuit of Sustainable Development” was well chosen as it aims to further strengthen the mandate of his ministries.
[The theme] “Means quite a lot. It says putting people first… To really put it into context, the overall Budget estimates of EC$706.1 million, out of that we got a sum of EC$72 million, 21 million of which is recurrent expenditure – which deals with your staff and operational expenses but EC$51 million deals with projects that are people-oriented,” said Minister Liburd, while appearing on “Working for You” on Wednesday, December 13.
Minister Liburd spoke to one major project, which is of extreme importance to the government and one that will prove beneficial to all in the long run.
“As time progresses, one I can speak to is the Old Road Bay project, which is some EC$23 million,” he said, describing the situation as extremely dangerous due to the many lives that were lost over the years. “We as a Team Unity Administration said enough of that, no more cars should be running over Old Road Bay and no more accidents across Old Road Bay because of the rocks slippage. So we have to address it and we are going to address it in the next fiscal year.”
Apart from the rehabilitation of Old Road Bay, other major capital projects include the upgrade of the island’s main road and the construction of the East Bus Terminal. These projects are significant capital expenditure items that would bring a better quality experience to commuters and road users, and enhance the visitor experience and the modernity of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, not just on the Peninsula but in the rural areas as well.
In relation to the road works, Minister Liburd said that plans are in place to better develop and maintain the country’s roads as this is very critical to the efficiency in transport.
“Infrastructure is critical to our continuing economic development. In terms of our road infrastructure, we have over 105 miles stretch of roads including the island main road and the secondary roads. It is critical to us and that is why we are presently implementing these projects,” he said.
He further added that EC$15 million has been allocated and approved for the upgrade of the island’s main road for the 2018 fiscal year with the overall project costing EC$67 million. The project will be implemented over an 18 month period.