Fourth District Representative and former Works Minister Mark Vanterpool has urged the government to avoid using his failure to fix the territory’s roadways when he was in office as an excuse not to do so now.
Vanterpool served as the Minister for Communication and Works for eight years between 2011 and 2019 under the National Democratic Party (NDP) government.
Complaints about the disastrous state of the roadways have persisted among residents of the territory and visitors alike — particularly in the East End/Long Look community where proper functioning roads have remained a utopian pipe dream.
While debating the government’s National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP) in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently, Vanterpool pointed out that the state of the roads was beneath the living standards of residents.
“We have to fix our roads. The standard of living for the people of the Virgin Islands
shouldn’t be one where we got to drive on these kinds of roads forever,” Vanterpool argued.
The legislator said some may say he was once the subject minister with responsibility for roads and didn’t repair them. However, he cautioned against fixating on this fact. “Fine, but let’s not make that an excuse for not fixing them, let’s fix them,“ Vanterpool said.
He further contended that the issue of a lack of financial resources for fixing the roads should not be used as an excuse either.
“Let’s make a sustainable development plan to plan for these roads, not over four years – no government can fix the roads in the territory over four years,” Vanterpool argued.
The former minister recommended a 10 to 20 year plan that is properly developed, studied and engineered which he said should be implemented in a phased and systematic way. Vanterpool said at the end of 25 years, the territory can then have sustainable roads that the people can be proud of.
“We must stop patching up and trying to make it one where you just say that ok, ‘we have $20 million over four years to fix our roads’ and try to fix all our roads with $20 million. Nonsense!” Vanterpool stated. “In this economic times it can’t happen with $20 million.”