Steve Wrensford speaking at an SKNLP press conference (Spokesman Snap)

BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 27th September 2019) – Claims by the Chief Executive Officer of Rock & Dirt Limited, Alexes Hazel (local contractor), that there has been “zero damage” to the Old Road Bay Rehabilitation Project following the recent passing of Tropical Storm Karen has been labelled “not true” by the Opposition St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party candidate for Constituency Four, Steve Wrensford.

He expressed such sentiments yesterday (Thursday) during an exclusive interview with the media house surrounding a press release issued that day from the Office of the Prime Minister refuting recent statements from an online article regarding an “opposition candidate” saying that “significant” damage was done.

 “Once you’re doing a project of this nature what you want to happen is that you want to get a test to get a better feel of how the design is going to react to what we are trying to accomplish here and the design held up perfectly. The reason why I am saying that is because with this rough water we had for two day I had absolutely zero damage,” remarked Hazel in the government’s press statement.
However, according to Wrensford: “The question is whether they had done an EIA[Environment Impact Assessment]. Had you done an EIA, you would have been able to design the project in a way that would mitigate against those flooding in the low lying areas along the coast line going towards the Sandy Point area  because that area is already under siege when it comes to the weather. Saying no damage was done is a statement that is not true. Some persons who passed would have seen that there has been damage, that there was damage. The area is not finished and once the water comes it will take away from the soil and it’s going to move from the rocks…”

He continued: “For me the larger question is whether the government intends to compensate persons when their houses are damaged or is the government going to relocate people from those areas so that they don’t be placed in increased danger based on the more serious hurricanes that are coming fast and furious nowadays.”

Hazel is also quoted for having commented on the purported threat to other coastal areas created by the revetment work on the Old Road Bay Road project in saying: “This is like a drop in the bucket. If you push back the Old Road Bay water about 30 feet out, you’re also cushioning the sea that comes to it and so you’re not really forcing the water around to Halfway Tree and others because we are not claiming back acres of land, you’re just doing some revetment work on the coastal area. So you’re really not putting any pressure back on Sandy Point and Halfway Tree as some people would think.”

Wrensford, during the interview, stated that he has a problem with the design and not the project itself.

“They had a chance to correct the design taking into consideration persons along the coastline. I have no problem with the project; I have a problem with the way it is designed and we don’t have any information about whether they’ll be any mitigation correction along the coastline so that those persons who live along the coastline-in Middle Island, Verchilds and Half Way Tree… Are we going to wait until a hurricane gets here and does damage along the coastline for us to take stock as to what mitigating remedies we can put in those areas? Because the water must find somewhere to go. The water is being pushed out so it has less space than it had before so it has to find some avenue in where it can relieve itself and always it’s going to be along the low lying areas of the coastline.”

The Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Four Lindsay Grant-in the government’s press release- commended Rock and Dirt Ltd. for the job they are doing.
“I’m happy that Rock and Dirt – they are the main contractors – could have come and explain exactly what had transpired and I think significant from what he said is the fact that what the rains and the winds and the gusts that we had recently from Tropical Storm Karen is really a test for this project. Obviously this is a major project. It’s $31 million dollars by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Republic of China (Taiwan); it’s the most significant capital investment in this constituency and so we need persons yes to be critical but critical with information,” he said.

Front Page Photo: Local contractor Chief Executive Officer of Rock & Dirt Limited Alexes Hazel (left) seen with the Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Four Lindsay Grant looking at a layout of the Old Road Bay Rehabilitation Project in this SKNIS snap.