CHARLESTOWN, Nevis: Minister responsible for Communications and Works, Carlisle Powell, says he is confident the Public Works Department is in an acceptable state of readiness for the upcoming 2011 hurricane season which officially begins June 1.
Powell said on Monday that much work had been done to roads and drains since the last hurricane season.
“We are this year keeping our fingers crossed but we think that we will be in (a) fairly good position. We still can’t afford to have any major storms because they cost money but we feel that we have taken early steps to make sure that we will be able to handle whatever comes our way.
“Hopefully, they will not be too dangerous,” he said.
According to the Minister, the Public Works Department is actively working to complete a number of village roads with asphalt and clear drains ahead of the rains.
“Once they (roads) are finished it means that we would not lose the surface so that we will be better able to handle run offs ….
“We already started cleaning our drains. We don’t wait until June to do that so that the runoff will be much easier. We feel that after the experiences of the last major floods that we had where we lost sections of the road at Prospect and at Brown Pasture, we feel that Public Works are in a better position to handle things like these,” he said.
According to Powell, Nevis had suffered major damage to some of the bridges and retaining barricades and pointed to the Camps Ghaut in the vicinity of the Anglican Church.
“If we have the same volume of water coming down we should not be so affected because we did some reinforcement works with respect to the sides of the ghaut and we also did some reinforcement work to the way the barricades came out,” he said.
Powell said that a comprehensive road network program has been ongoing throughout the island.
“We are doing a tremendous amount of work. If you start at Bath there are three or four sections of roads that we are doing in Bath going up by the Community Centre …We are doing roads; most of them are completed in Round Hill which is the road leading up to Jade called Ocean View. We are doing roads in Almond Gardens,” he said.
The Minister said in some cases the roads which were receiving attention were areas where paved roads never existed before.
“We are doing a significant amount of village roads.
“In Almond Gardens people have been living down there for ages; they never, never had paved roads. In Round Hill Ocean View, these people never benefitted from paved roads and so we are bringing paved roads to those people and improving their lives,” he said. Powell said that the Nevis Island Administration had a tremendous amount of roads to mend but it was taking its time and working through, though he was mindful that people who lived in areas with roads that needed attention wished they would each be given priority.