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Dipcon penalised for slow road work

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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has decided that he is not taking anymore political licks for something that he claims is not his fault.

On Tuesday, Dr. Gonsalves expressed disgust with Dipcon Engineering, a Trinidadian firm, for failing to meet their December 2004 deadline to complete Phase Two of the Windward Highway, a portion of road running from Brownstown to San Souci.{{more}}

Dr. Gonsalves, said the project is long overdue and motorists are feeling the effects of Dipcon Engineering’s slothfulness.

In November 2003, Dipcon Engineering was awarded the contract to carry out the

rehabilitation of roads and structures on this section of the road at a cost of EC$10.2 million.

Following the signing of a EC$26, 657, 983 contract with C.O Williams and Company of Barbados on Tuesday, Dr. Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT that it is now official that Dipcon Engineering has been fined by the Government for their tardiness. The Prime Minister said the company was fined five per cent of the contract which amounts to EC$510, 352.26.

Earlier this year former Minister of Transport and Works Julian Francis had issued several warnings to Dipcon Engineering to get the road completed as soon as possible. At one point he had even threatened to take their contract away.

Prime Minister Gonsalves said Vincentians will be lucky if Dipcon Engineering finishes the road by September this year.

He said his woes are that he has to account to 19, 000 motorists.

“I am very upset,” said Dr.Gonsalves.

“It just has been a terrible inconvenience…I don’t know if the motorists are going to be able to restrain themselves from rebellion because it has really been terrible,” Dr.Gonsalves said.

He added that the road is incomplete and it has brought much pain to road users as well as expense.

When contacted, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport Works and Housing, Louis Straker, explained that the five percent deduction will be made from Dipcon Engineering’s EC$10.2 million contract to offset expenses incurred for the extended time consultants have to spend on the project.

He said the company is still working on the project and in practical terms is hoping to finish it by the end of September.

Deputy Prime Minister Straker said, the company has explained that lack of cement and other resources as well as the rainy season were the main factors for them not meeting their deadline.

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