Health Minister Marlon Penn has suggested that the time has long passed for excuses about fixes to the roads in the East End/Long Look community.
The government promised in the past that road repairs in the community would be addressed once the long-running East End sewerage project was completed.
But Penn said he was starting to feel cynical about promised road fixes.
“The people of the district feel like they have done something wrong to the government of the Virgin Islands
. Why is it that our roads do not get any attention,” Penn asked.
“We have to fix the roads in the Eighth District. You can’t use the excuse anymore about sewerage. That cannot be the excuse anymore, we have to fix the roads,” Penn added.
While dismissing assertions that he is a traitor to his constituents since crossing over from the Opposition benches to join the Government of National Unity, Penn argued that his advocacy continues to be strong for the people of the Eighth District.
“I said when I came here (over to government), and I said this to the Premier, I am not going to be one who just acquiesces and just toe the line. We have to do what is right, and do right by our people of the territory,” Penn stated.
‘Patch and go’ not working
Penn said he is tired of the Eighth and Seventh Districts being the butt of everyone’s jokes on social media when it comes to the state of the road. “Everywhere you go, if it’s a joke about a road or hole, it’s a reference to the Seventh and Eighth Districts. It was funny the first two or three times, but it’s become no longer funny,” Penn said.
He also argued that the government should no longer ‘take the patch-and-go approach’ to road repairs since it is unsustainable and too costly for the territory in the long run. “We have to bite the bullet and take a comprehensive approach to fixing the roads once and for all in our community,” Penn said.
The legislator further argued that he has seen designs and quantities over the years but said he needs to see action on the ground now. “We need to see proper infrastructure, proper drainage. The issue is water in the roads,” Penn noted.
In the meantime, Premier and Seventh District Representative Dr Natalio Wheatley has promised that the long overdue repairs to the road networks in the East End/Long Look community will be completed before American Airlines commences direct flights between the BVI and Miami in June 2023.