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Hope Bridge officially opens

Hope Bridge officially opens

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Residents of the village of Hope can now join with those in Chateaubelair to celebrate the official opening of a newly constructed bridge in their community, thanks to the Ecuadorian Army Corps of Engineers.

With less drama and excitement than what took place in North Leeward {{more}}three days prior, the last of four bridges constructed by the soldiers from Central America was opened on Monday in the presence of a large crowd, despite heavy downpours of rain.

A contingent of Ecuadorian officials including that country’s defence minister and vice foreign minister was on hand to witness the opening of the structure, which is the longest of its kind in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Making addresses at the ceremony were Admiral Nunez of the Ecuadorian Navy; this country’s chief engineer in the Ministry of Transportation and Works Brent Bailey; vice foreign minister of Ecuador Leonardo Arizaga; Deputy Prime Minister Girlyn Miguel; Senator Jomo Thomas and Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves.

The local speakers expressed their thanks to the government and people of Ecuador for their support and contribution following the rains and floods of December 2013, that among other things, destroyed river crossings that had to be replaced. Speakers also expressed a feeling of solidarity and unity between the countries, saying that the structures symbolized the strengthening diplomatic ties.

The new structure at Hope is recorded as being the longest of its kind in this country, measuring some eight meters wide by 24 meters long.

The bridge, which is also higher than the previous one which was damaged during the December 2013 floods, now provides for two-lane traffic and also accommodates pedestrians with a separate sidewalk, which extends approximately 50 yards beyond the bridge on either side.

Following the drawing of a ribbon by prime minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Admiral Nunez to symbolize the official opening of the bridge, a plaque was unveiled in commemoration of the project.

Bridges were also constructed by the Army Corps of Engineers at Kakarta, Plan and Sharpes in Chateaubelair over an eight month period at a cost of approximately US $4.2 million.

Earlier on Monday, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Ecuador, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus and the Dominica State College, paving the way for Ecuadorian teachers to learn the English language at those institutions.

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