West Coast Road closed to avoid disaster, says Minister

The west coast road was closed early Friday morning to facilitate road works done by the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The closure is part of a promise made to the constituency representative for Soufriere by the Minister of Infrastructure who along with a team from the Ministry visited the site earlier this month and has since engaged consultants and contracting firms for urgent works on the La Haut portion of the road.
According to Minister Pierre, the move is to avoid a potential catastrophe on the Colombette to Soufriere portion of the west coast road.
A massive boulder just above a portion of the road along La Haut is in danger of rolling downhill and so the Ministry intends to mitigate the danger by seeking to remove the boulder from its unstable location.
This now means the road has to be closed to vehicular traffic for at least one week-end.
Meanwhile, small hotel owners, Monica and Martin Charles say the closure has placed their establishment in a very tight position and could she could lose possibly US$12,000.
Monica Charles explains that no prior warnings or notices were sent to her of the Ministry’s intention to close the road.
“Thursday morning one of my staff came to work—she got a ride up from Mr Dalson who asked her, “How is Crystals going to manage with the road being closed?
“I was astonished and found it strange but she repeated to me that the road will be close from 6am. I called the Soufriere Foundation and they had heard nothing, then I called the Ministry of Communications and Works and I spoke with Mary Augustin and I asked about the closure of the road. She replied saying; “Yes! Yes! Yes! We are closing it tomorrow morning. We are going to blast a rock.” I asked her for how long and she said she will get back to me.”
Charles told the STAR that Augustin had not returned her call and out of concern for her guests who would have to leave the Island and a few checking in, she called the Ministry once more only to be told that nothing can be done for her or her guests.
“I do not have water on my property. I run my property primarily on rain water. I’ve got no landline. It’s been a number of years since I’ve been promised tap water and nothing. I explained my situation to the Ministry of Tourism and they too shared similar sentiments as that of the Ministry of Communications and works.
“My staff has got to get to work and the ministry is telling me they will have to make the round through Vieux Fort. I mean this would be a three hour drive whereas coming from Soufriere to Colombette would only take my staff five minutes at most.” Charles says she has no staff working over the weekend because of the closure.  According to her, she has no one to prepare food or provide the service that was promised to her guests.
“Had I been given advance notice like a week before, I would have made all the necessary plans to ensure my property runs smoothly but I was told nothing.” Charles says should her guests leave, she would stand to lose significantly and wants to know whether the authorities will compensate her for such loss.
The Colombette to Soufriere portion of the west coast was blocked from Friday March 30th and remain inaccessible until Sunday April 1st. Motorists wishing to travel to Soufriere are advised to use the East Coast as there will be no access into Soufriere via the west coast.
The Ministry issued a statement apologizing for any inconvenience that may be caused as a result of the closure.

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