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Commentary: Oh God, where is thy light?
Published on August 17, 2012 Email To Friend    Print Version

By David Tapfer

Sometimes we just don't know how to accept what is being put out there for reasonable people to accept. Issues long obvious are being trotted back out with spins so difficult to accept we just have to cry out, Oh God, where is thy light?

David Tapfer is a retired, US-born engineer and management executive. He is the former chairman of the Middle Caicos Branch of the Peoples Democratic Movement
I felt that way when I read the statement from Westley Clerveaux. It is as plain as can be that, after six years of Mike Misick and three years of direct rule, the country is bankrupt. We have a $260 million loan, we are raiding the National Insurance Fund, selling the water plant and still our operating budget is in deficit. Mike sold $260 million in Crown land probably worth $500 million and still we are broke.

The National Health Insurance Plan (NHIP) is absorbing nearly half the government’s income and the doctor responsible wants to be premier. Oh God, where is thy light?

Fact is Westley does not have the $2.1 million bid by the company that built the dirt causeway.

In that he cannot raise even the budgeted $1.4 million, let alone the extra million, the former DCER chief tells us he now has to revise the specifications. He tells us, “It was that vegetation along the causeway that died allowing three years of scrawls to erode.” But only what was left after Hanna pushed the bay over it.”

There never was any vegetation along the causeway and mangroves exist only on the Middle Caicos shoreline but not along the causeway. The Middle Caicos side survived fairly well. On the North Caicos side, acres of mangroves and scrub brush were unable to stop the tide from inundating two miles of roadway leading to the causeway. To top it off Cleaveaux tells us the small plastic pipe culverts were too small. Five years after the causeway was built on his watch and he just now discovered this? Why then, did he specify box culverts for the repair?

I suspect the slow pay performance of the last nine years, when contractors waited for years and saw their invoices first hidden in drawers then renegotiated, may have added that extra million.

Face the facts, Governor Todd has been embarrassed. He promised repairs to start in June and now they may never be started. Ferry anyone?

The grant to build the causeway was negotiated by the last PDM government. I was told it was $10.8 million and arrived in May 2003. Mike had it built for $4-million plus by August 2007.

Samuel Harvey, the former Minister of Works, conducted engineering and environmental studies leading up to the grant and the causeway was planned to be more bridge than causeway. A port was built on private land near Dellis Cay to facilitate the developer, who gave the PNP a $500,000 campaign contribution. Now there is an Interpol red notice out for both the developer and Mike.

Actually, the port was to be built near the causeway and the short dredge to the navigation channel would have brought work and tourists to Middle Caicos and Bottle Creek in the lee of North Caicos. Thank you, Jeffrey Hall, Mister Minister of Works, who gave us what we got. The builder of the causeway got North Caicos Yacht Club and built the dirt bridge without a peep.

Oh God, where is thy light?
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