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PM Dickon Mitchell dismisses NNP on Moliniere Land Slippage

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell – explains the government actions on the Moliniere land slippage

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has exposed what can best be described as a level of incompetence by the former Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in handling the Moliniere Land slippage problem.

Appearing on “The Ridealong” programme Monday evening hosted by New York-based Grenadian Junior George, the Prime Minister accused the regime that was defeated in the general election a year ago of failing to undertake several important things in order for the Contractor to move ahead with the project.

He cited a key one as the failure of the then administration to acquire and compensate property owners who had to be removed from the unstable area in order for the Contractor to take full control of the area in order to proceed with the project.

“When we inherited this project the former administration had issued a contract to a Contractor but the administration had actually not done what needed to be done to allow the Contractor to actually take possession of the site and commence work.

“…This slippage occurred in an area where there were several houses that were impacted by it and the government needed to acquire these properties and pay the people compensation in order for the Contractor to take control of the entire site to do the construction work.

“That had not been done so even though a contract had been issued and I suspect that they issued it because it was election time and they were forced to try and show that something was being done. So even though they issued the contract, the Contractor himself could not proceed because he would be trespassing on private people’s property.

“…The various home that were impacted had to be acquired and it was this administration particularly through the work of the Minister of Mobilisation Implementation and Transformation who went about engaging in the several discussions, negotiations and eventual agreements with these persons to agree on compensation and to agree on the acquisition process to acquire these sites.”

According to PM Dickon Mitchell after his government had addressed the issues that were not done by the Keith Mitchell-led NNP administration, the Contractor was eventually able to take control of the site.

He also said the Congress government continued to work with the same Contractor who came out of St Lucia but after the work started a problem soon developed with the major NAWASA water supply line that passed through the area.

He indicated that the pipe broke and hundreds of gallons of water were poured all over the site which is known to be very unstable and affected it negatively.

“That water situation would have made it worse and so as a result of that the folks at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Contractor and the ministry’s Engineers had to take action to rectify the situation.”

He said the reality of the situation is that no work could continue in Moliniere until the NAWASA problem was rectified.

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According to PM Dickon Mitchell, the original design for the project by the Trinidad-based Consultant firm known as BESTON did not contemplate interfering with the hillside at Moliniere although it was unstable.

He told the programme host that after the incident with the NAWASA pipe, the Engineers at the Ministry of Infrastructure took the decision that the hillside had to be addressed and BESTON was recalled to relook the design work and to do a more comprehensive one taking into consideration the hillside area that was also showing signs of shifting.

He said the redesigned project is seeking to tackle a number of issues such as the construction of the road that was damaged, stabilisation of the hillside and stabilisation of the bottom side leading to the sea.

“Let us remember it is the area between the sea and the road itself which first crumbled and then subsequently the road itself collapsed,” he remarked.

“This means we have to stabilise the hillside, construct the road and stabilise the bottom side.”

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell disclosed that when he toured the site for the first time as head of the government, alongside BESTON, the Consulting firm admitted that the risk was really from the hillside but their design did not take this into consideration.

He announced that BESTON was on island last week and met with officials of the Ministry of Infrastructure and members of the Grenada Institute of Professional Engineers and the Planning and Development Authority to look at and make comments on the new design for the project.

He was confident that the new redesigned project “is far superior to the original design that was made.”

“Let’s face the fact that although the original design did not contemplate touching the hillside it does not mean that the hillside may not have come down because if the hillside is unstable … It doesn’t mean that with the heavy rain it may not have come down in light of the fact that the bottom had already moved and in light of the fact that you have heavy equipment on the site and once you have heavy equipment you have vibration so there still was and is a risk.

“What we are seeking to do is to mitigate in a sense all of the risks – the hillside risk, bottom side risk while at the same time trying to get the road built.”

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell charged that the country has seen “more action and quicker action” from his one-year old administration and has done much more on the Moliniere land slippage than what the former Keith Mitchell-led regime had ever done over the years.

“We are telling the people what is going on and for the entire year and a half to two years that the project sat there and we had no clue what was being done to ensure that we got it rebuilt.”

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