By: Dr. Kelvin Daly & Carlisle Powell
We told you about the struggle to rehabilitate the FanVan building at Marion Heights.
After 3 years and about $3 million spent, the building is still unfinished and unoccupied. That building is not the only project that CCM is struggling to complete.
Pedestrians and motorists in the Prospect area have been complaining bitterly about two “white elephants” that are under the care of the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon. Alexis Jeffers. Government workers who cross paths with these expensive beasts daily are left perplexed as to why the Minister has not found a solution to these vexing eye sores. Some grumble “this is as bad as it gets” while others simply look away, too angry to say a word.
The objects of their disgust are the uncompleted extensions of the Veterinary Clinic and the Abattoir; two hastily built and still unused buildings sitting desolate in overgrown grass and bush.
In public pronouncements, Minister Jeffers seemed unable to contain his venom as he delivered lash after lash at the NRP for in his words, not having yet advanced plans to upgrade those important Agriculture Divisions.
He callously brushed aside the fact that between 2007-2012, NRP had delivered over $5 million in infrastructure and other capital projects including the Agro-processing Plant and the George “Mowbray” Hanley Public Market in Charlestown.
The Vet Clinic extension broke ground on January 30, 2014 with much fanfare. The Nevis Humane Animal Society-Friends of ARK, contributed an undisclosed sum to the $750,000 budget.
The Minister in his normal cockatoo posture, lauded the importance of the project and insisted that to keep everything on the level and on target, the Nevis Housing and Land Development Corporation would manage the project from start to finish.
Needless to say, a giant CCM party loyalist was again handed the construction contract, gift wrapped in party blue.
Almost a year later November 30, 2015, while on a video tour of the badly delayed project, the cockatoo proclaimed, “We are happy to report that we are making significant progress. This is a development that was in the making for many years and we are happy that we are able to bring it to reality. The project is scheduled for completion in March 2016.”
March 2016 has long come and gone, so too has March 2017.
After 3 years, the Vet Clinic extension remains incomplete and as empty as the explanations of the Hon Minister. Not only is the building uninhabitable, but not a single piece of equipment; not a single chair, has been ordered in anticipation of its eventual opening. It is understood that all sorts of antique throwaways from Ross Vet School are what the Minister is hoping to put there.
It begs the question whether the budget that was under the cockeye of the Minister and NHLDC was squandered. If it is as it appears that money is the problem, why could the Minister not a get a tiny share of the $113 million bonanza of which they often crowing to finish the building?
So, while the Honourable gentleman luxuriates in his opulent office, the hard-working staff at the Vet Clinic continues to squeeze like sardines in a 6′ x 10′ office with 2 desks.
Their food will continue to share shelf space with animal vaccines in a schizophrenic refrigerator. Should they continue to eat their lunches, weather permitting, on the front porch among the stacks of dog and cat cages? Fluffy want a bone? We must salute the resilience of these public servants!
Just across the yard from the Vet clinic extension sits the other white elephant; the Abattoir Extension.
It started in February 2016. The project had a build time of 6 months and, as with its sister development, another giant CCM party supporter got a gift wrapped contract for an undisclosed sum.
On one of his infamous tours, the cockatoo was on his perch proclaiming that, “given the speed at which the construction was proceeding, it means we may have usage of this building in advance of the period of time (August 2016), that we would have earmarked for completion.”
As of June 2017, cobwebs hang from the doors like Christmas ornaments and bee bush has scaled the walls.
Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!
Minister Jeffers has proven time and time again that he finds it difficult to properly represent anything or anybody in this country and his new series of failures are but the tip of a giant iceberg floating in a sea of mediocrity.
After all, he is the same Minister who is convinced that having regular buffets for monkeys will ease the pressure on farmers. He is the same Minister who turned his back on a $30 million grant from Japan, the largest gift this country has ever been offered. He is the same awful Minister qho is running NEVLEC and the Water Services into the ground almost overnight.
Power gone and water gone are the new normal in Nevis!
This very unremarkable man is asking for a second term while showing no clear vision for Nevis.
In response, we must be reminded of the quote: “Trusting someone a second time is like giving him another bullet to shoot you because he missed with the first one.”