The controversial Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) is back and hundreds of unemployed Grenadians are eager to re-gain or begin employment with the company on the Second Phase of the feeder road project.
Scores of senior public officers, government ministers, trade unionists, the Clerk of Parliament, Ray Donald, and House Speaker, Dr. Lawrence Joseph among others attended Tuesday’s signing and sod turning of the Grenada Agricultural Feeder Road Projects in Mama Cannes/Grand Bacolet, St Andrew.
The road on completion will link Grand Bacolet to Munich in St Andrew to become the longest road in the parish.
However, the 300 former employees with CCC, gaining employment with the company will not be automatic.
In addressing the ceremony, Representative for CCC, Wallid Jabari, urged persons including those previously employed with the company to submit applications at the company’s office at the National Stadium for work on the road project.
He also encouraged persons residing within the areas where these projects will be done to submit their applications for employment, as most employees will be hired from within the various working areas.
Jabari thanked the Government and people of Grenada for putting their trust in the company and assured the nation that CCC will construct roads of the highest safety standards and that the project will be completed on time.
Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew South-East, Emmalin Pierre, expressed her satisfaction that the project is finally coming into fruition as it means a lot to both students and community residents.
“This is a happy moment for me as Parliamentary representative,” she told the gathering.
Parliamentary Representative for St Andrew South-West, Yolande Bain-Horsford also echoed this sentiment saying she had been looking forward to this project for a long time.
Bryan Constantine, Regional Manager of DIWI Consultant International said that under the second phase of the project, 14 roads would be constructed throughout the country.
Works Minister Gregory Bowen who turned the sod onboard a tractor signifying the start of the project, blamed the long delay on the failure of the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government of Tillman Thomas.
He said the administration, which was voted out of office in February, is responsible for the four years loss of the project and the loss of employment and economic activity in the country.
Minister Bowen explained that 97% of the project is being financed by the Kuwait Fund while the Government of Grenada will finance the additional 3%.
The senior government minister attempted to put skeptics of the project to rest by pointing out that the presence of CCC and DIWI is a clear indication that the project is on stream.
He said the efficiency of CCC while working in Grenada in the past was responsible for the company winning another contract bid to work on the island again on the second phase of the project.
According to Minister Bowen, CCC will begin work immediately and called on private property owners in areas where these projects will be done to “give with an open heart” to enable the construction of roads that may encroach on their private property.
He said that various meetings would be held in these areas so that affected property owners could have their concerns addressed.
Minister Bowen stated that the start of the CCC Feeder Road Second Phase project demonstrates the New National Party’s (NNP) commitment to providing work, as well as securing employment for the people and stimulating the economy.
He thanked the company for its willingness to work with the Grenada Government and people despite the many negative comments and actions taken against it by the former Congress-led government.
Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Dr. Keith Mitchell wasted no time in chastising former Prime Minister Thomas and his team for the failure to start the project during its more than four years in office.
“A lot of good people suffered”, Dr. Mitchell said in reference to the many who were looking for jobs on the road project.
He charged that the failure of the former government to get the project started resulted in the lives of some families being broken and the mortgages of some people being placed in jeopardy.
The Prime Minister encouraged Grenadians to “remember the loss and pain over the four years”, adding that the failure by the former rulers to start the CCC project was as a result of the administration’s “politics of spite and hate”, and he hoped they learnt their lesson coming out of the 2008 General Election in which the people voted them out of office.
“This is not about CCC, it is about what is good and right for the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique … It’s about economic activity”, he said.
The Grenadian leader said that as promised on the election campaign trail leading up to the February 19 General Election which saw the NNP take all 15 seats in parliament, his party promised jobs and employment and now it is about to deliver.
CCC began operations in Grenada in 1995 when the Keith Mitchell administration took office and broke off ties with the Trinidad-based Dipcon Engineering, which was hired by a former Congress Administration of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.
Dipcon took the matter to court and was awarded a judgement of approximately EC$19 million for breach of contract.
THE NEW TODAY has not been able to obtain information on the equipment to be used by CCC in doing the second phase of the feeder road project since the company had shipped out several pieces of equipment from the island about two to three years ago.
Phase I of the Agriculture Feeder Road was completed by CCC in September 2009.