Saint Lucia
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Chastanet Accuses PM Of Misleading Statements Regarding The John Compton Dam Desilting – St. Lucia Times

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Prime Minister Pierre continues to mislead the public, this time on the John Compton Dam Desilting Project.

1) The Desilting program of John Compton Dam started in 2020 under the United Workers Party administration

2) Accurate information regarding the expenditure and scope of the project is available at WASCO, the NURC (National Utilities Regulatory Commission), and the Caribbean Development Bank to challenge any wrong assumptions.

3) The Dam was heavily silted due to lack of maintenance and weather events. This includes (Tropical Storm Debbie in 1994, Hurricane Tomas in 2011 and the Christmas Eve trough in 2013)

4) The Silt from these weather events displaced almost 400 million gallons of water. The total capacity of the dam allows for the storage of a total of 700 million gallons

5) The Lower extraction port was compromised, which posed continuous risks to water security.

6) Dredging can only occur during rainy months of June to November given that the Suction dredge extracts 70% water and 30% silt. You cannot dredge the dam continuously in any one year as doing so would deplete it of water supplies.

7) Silt settles in Sediment Disposal Area downstream, while water is treated and distributed.

8 ) The project was tendered under the previous SLP administration in 2016 and on both occasions were unsuccessful.

9) The previous SLP administration had secured the services of a Canadian company Golder and Associates as consultants for the project. We kept this same company.

10) Two separate contracts were engaged; one to build the Sediment Disposal Area one mile downstream of the dam and another for the leasing services of a suction dredge to commence the desilting process to clear the lower port and extract just below 100,000 cubic meters of silt.

11) The sediment disposal area contract was tendered amongst local contractors and a local contractor was the lowest responsive bidder. Due to the specialized nature of the dredging works this was tendered regionally and internationally with funding secured from the Caribbean Development Bank. Vinci Construction Maritime et Fluvial a subsidiary of the world’s second largest construction company Vinci Construction was the most successful bidder for the dredging works.

12) The NURC and CDB both oversaw the project to monitor progress and expenses.

13) The Project costs fell below the NURC’s capped amount of $60 million.

14) Every financial disbursement had to be vetted by the both the NURC and CDB before payment was made to the contractors.

15) Caribbean Development Bank no objection certificates were also obtained before payments could be made to the dredging contractor.

16) When the UWP left office in 2021, the were still funds from CDB loan for this project available.

17) At the closing ceremony for the desilting project, the CDB commended Wasco and the then Government of St Lucia for the successful completion of this highly technical and engineering works in this part of our hemisphere.

Prime Minister Pierre and his administration must stop playing politics with the lives and livelihoods of Saint Lucians.

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There is an urgent need to continue maintenance and desilting of the dam to prevent further silt accumulation and ensure water security.

SOURCE: United Workers Party

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