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Minister in the dark over cost to repair sinkhole
Works and Infrastructure Minister Emmanuel George is admitting that Government hired Junior Sammy Co Ltd to correct the collapsed Sea Lots sink hole, but up to late yesterday he still did not know the cost of the project. Speaking to reporters yesterday at the opening of a $14.8 million road-paving project at Mohess Road, Penal, George said the contractor had not finalised his price, so he had no clue how Sammy would charge. As a result, the ministry will have to pay whatever Sammy asks, since the job was already completed.
Asked to explain the cost of repairs and the scope of works, George said: “I don’t know the costs. I asked the contractor to send in his bill. I didn’t ask him to give me it in words. We just asked him to send my bill. I did not ask him to tell me over the phone.” George said the contractor worked on Thursday night to complete the job: “They simply did the final overlay of asphalt.”
Asked why the ministry did not have the capability to complete the work, George said: “We don’t have the equipment and manpower to do this.” Asked if the ministry planned to acquire the necessary resources for such jobs, George explained: “No, we will not be acquiring this because we don’t expect this kind of thing to happen regularly.” He said the collapse of the culvert was the reason for the collapse of the roadway.
As to whether further underground works were needed, George said: “I don’t know. I am not an engineer and I have never been involved in that type of work, so I cannot answer that question.” He added: “We will look at all of the culverts along the Beetham to determine their state, and depending on the state, we will repair them. We have to look at the northern side of the culvert and then we will determine what is needed to be done.”
Sammy, who was also present at the Mohess Road opening, could not give the cost either. “I have not finalised any price,” he said. “We finished work this morning at 2 am, so I have not checked out my price.” Sammy said the job was finished. “All the white lines have been painted and the asphalt was repaved. I worked two nights, so I have not checked cost as yet.” He could not ascertain what caused the road to sink but added that the ministry engineers were investigating.
On Wednesday, around 11.30 am, a Sea Land truck-trailer was heading west along the Beetham Highway in Sea Lots, opposite PTSC, when, seconds after it passed, a six-foot circular chunk of road collapsed. The Works Ministry later explained that a culvert (a circular drain) collapsed when the truck passed over it. Residents cordoned off the hole by surrounding it with debris.
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