Massive road works, other developments for Sophia – VP Jagdeo

…over $1B in contracts awarded

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo has assured residents of Sophia, Greater Georgetown, that they will benefit from major developmental works including road upgraded pegged at more than $1 billion.

Vice President Dr Bharrat Jagdeo

He was at the time addressing residents at a community outreach in ‘A’ Field, Sophia on Tuesday. The Vice President was accompanied by several ministers for the outreach that targeted residents in ‘A’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Fields.
“Right now, we’re spending over $1 billion in ‘A’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ Fields on road upgrades… We did assessments for ‘B’ Field and maybe in a matter of months, [works will commence and] that will be about $1.3 billion and then we have to do ‘E’ Field too. So’ the entire Sophia will be done,” Jagdeo stated.
In fact, during the outreach some 85 contracts to the tune of $1.069 billion were signed for the upgrade of a total of 41 roads in the three fields. In ‘A’ Field 51 contracts were awarded while in ‘C’ and ‘D’ Fields another 34 contracts, totally some $500 million, were signed.
According to Minister within the Public Works Ministry, Deodat Indar, who was also a part of the outreach, these works are being done in phases.
“We’re going to dig up about 29 roads in ‘A’ Field. We’re going to dig up the entire ‘C’ and ‘D’ Field, which is about another 12 roads there and then all the cross streets there,” he indicated.
These upgrades, Indar noted, will be concrete works thus enabling small and even new contractors within the community to participate and benefit from the contracts.
“You don’t have to get all the expensive equipment. It’s simple construction… The work doesn’t require the presence of heavy machinery – mostly manual labour unless you’re at the point where you have to use concrete mixing trucks and so on. So, it makes the work easier for people who are now entering into the construction field,” the minister noted.
Engineers from the Public Work Ministry will be monitoring these works and guide the new contractors.
Minister Indar urged the contractors to ensure that they work efficiently so that the road works could be completed on time and not be too much of an inconvenience for residents.
“So, you gotta make sure when you dig up the road, you fix quick because the contract period is only three months. So, when we sign now, three months after we expect it to be finished… Give good work for the money you’re contracted for,” Indar stated.
According to the minister, by awarded these contracts to locals within the community, “The monies that is spent by government, taxpayers money, is coming back in the hands of taxpayers… So, the people in the community are assisting to build out the very community that they live in.”
“For ease, try and hire people from within the community. They can come to work early and leave late so you get more out of them rather than go bring somebody or some one of your family from [far away], it will be difficult for you…,” the Minister within the Public Works Ministry said.

Employment opportunities
With these road works expected to create employment opportunities for persons within Sophia, VP Jagdeo noted that this has been a major focal point for the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) Administration since taking office four years ago.
Today, according to the Vice President, Government has been successful in creating job opportunities and the situation has gotten to a point where there is labour shortages now especially in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
“If you’re looking for skilled people and labourers and stuff like that, in many sectors you can’t find workers. We’ve had more than 60,000 people resumed working because we started developing house lots once again [after returning to office]… and that put a lot of people to work to work. We started building home again – core home for people and young professional homes – we’ve put another 15,000 people to work there because of that,” he pointed out.

Jagdeo went onto to note that these road upgrades in Sophia is part of a promise the current administration made to have all the roads in the city done. This, he assured, will be fulfilled in due time.
The Vice President told the residents of Sophia that the PPP/C Government is very deliberate about national development and is investing in a large number of areas including in the social sectors where they are spending big.
“Government is about planned and balanced investments,” he noted while pointing to the more than 31,000 scholarships being offered to citizens and the dozen hospitals being built across the country.
According to Jagdeo, unlike the notion that some section is peddling, revenues are not rushing in from the burgeoning oil and gas sector. This, he outlined, will happened in a few years from now and when that time comes then there will be steps taken to further improve lives of citizens.
“People think we are awash with oil money… In this year’s budget, we’ve budgeted about US$1.5 billion to come from oil but that is only less than 30 per cent of the $1.1 trillion Budget. So, if we spend every cent that we receive from oil and gas, it can’t fund 30 per cent of the budget and people think we’re awash with money. This will happen in the outer years, by 2027 when a lot of the amortization of the investments take place then we’ll start see revenue of that magnitude and that scale,” the VP posited.
During Tuesday’s outreach, two meetings were held in Sophia during which the Government officials heard and address issues affecting the residents. (G8)