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More than 2,500 employed under road-cleaning programme – Minister

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About 2,560 persons are employed under the $1 million road-cleaning programme, Minister of Transportation and Works Julian Francis said on Tuesday, but warned that not all of the nation’s roads will be cleaned.{{more}}

Francis said that 198 crews have been employed under the programme, which includes the cutting of grass along roads and the cleaning of drains.

He said that each crew comprises 10 persons, including a timekeeper, and a further 400 jobbers, not in crews, have been contracted to do specific tasks.

“That’s over 2,300 persons. You have seen I have not included the truck owners and the loaders of the truck,” he said, adding that about four trucks are contracted per constituency and each truck has a crew of about three persons.

“It is not a full-time job, but it is an effort by the government, despite the harsh economic times, and despite the slow cash flow and the low cash flow, we try to find the resources to help ease that burden on parents and on individuals, especially at this time when you have to prepare yourself [for] back to school.”

Francis commended the cleaning crews and said “the truckers have put an extra effort into it.

“I believe I made some appeals last week on this matter and I want to say to you that I am appreciative of it,” he said.

Francis was referring to the slothfulness with which some truckers disposed of the debris.

“There is still a little lapse in some areas in the South Leeward side that I see. But I have driven North … as far as Sandy Bay on Friday and I have seen significant work done, and on the Vigie Highway (in West St George),” he said.

“All the roads will not be clean. Every single road in St Vincent will not be clean, because it is only $1 million,” he, however, said.

And Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves on Wednesday appealed to truckers to remove the debris promptly, noting that it often falls back into the drains.

“You know, you can’t just say you are going to drop something else somewhere and you will come back and when you come back your workers tell you they ain’t doing it because it is too late. … You are paid to do it. Get it done,” Gonsalves said on radio.

He further said that road supervisors and district supervisors cannot take guns and tell people when they meet them drinking at rum shops to go and do the work.

“I am begging please for the trucker; I mean you have been hired, don’t want until it is too late to go and pick up the stuff which you have been contracted to pick up after the workers have cleaned the drains and cut the verges,” Gonsalves said.

He further said that the money from the programme is important to help citizens, especially single parents, to send children back to school.

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