The Community Roads Improvement Programme (CRIP) on Monday held an exit workshop to assess and analyse the achieved outcomes and shortfalls of the project.
The CRIP Project was a joint venture between the then Ministry of Housing and Water and the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development and initially targeted 12 Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs) in Regions 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The Project was undertaken at a cost of US$18.75M through funding by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to improve tertiary roads in these areas.
Permanent Secretary, Emil McGarrell said he was particularly pleased at the level of institutional strengthening which would have contributed significantly to the success of the project.
The PS disclosed that this is a signal departure from previous approaches.
“There was real, strong political commitment at the time probably because there was a level of consistency in those who were there during the implementation of the project and those who saw it through to the end.”
McGarrell said the project allowed for a structured mechanism for meaningful community participation which has always been the objective of government.
“The Government of Guyana has always intended for this direct participation of citizens and so the community participatory method (CPM) brought a framework in which it could be done,” the Permanent Secretary stated.
He added that the question of community participation is a constitutional requirement but steps had not been taken to ensure its incorporation during projects.
McGarrell lauded the element of effective leadership displayed throughout the project which he said contributed largely to its success and in ensuring the output delivered was enough to achieve the targeted outcomes.
The PS also acknowledged the work of the project team who he said displayed a refreshing dedication and a great interest in seeing the project succeed.
McGarrell pointed out that monitoring was another critical element which contributed to the effective completion of the project.
CDB Portfolio Manager of the Economic Infrastructural Division (EID) William Ashby revealed that 228 roads were rehabilitated during the contract period.
He said that the CRIP project was also intended to update the manual and paper-based management system of the NDCs to a more computerised form of record keeping.
Ashby explained that a report on the performance of both the projects and those involved, will be compiled and sent to the Board of Directors.
Providing an overview of the structure of the bank, Ashby stated that there are 19 regional, borrowing members with Guyana being a founding member.
There are also some British overseas territories, regional non-borrowing members inclusive of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil and non-regional and non-borrowing to include Canada, China, Italy and Germany.
The overall aim of the project was to improve and sustaining access to social and economic infrastructure.
Among the intended outcomes was to ensure a five percent increase in vehicular trips above the existing levels, to ensure the elimination of road closures due to flooding of unsurfaced roads, those that had become impassable during inclement weather and those that may have deteriorated to become un-trafficable.
During the discussion sessions, most of the participants were impressed with the quality of the work done and expressed satisfaction that the roads were still very much in great condition.
Concerns were expressed about the double bitumen surface treatment (DBST) which was used on most roads. One contractor expressed a desire to be part of the design implementation phase.
He explained that since contractors mostly shoulder the blame for substandard road works, it might be appropriate for them to be involved in the initial design phase of the project.
The contractor explained that the DBST may not best suited for all areas such as new housing schemes where heavy traffic traverse and development works may be ongoing.
The participants also praised the project for the training of staff in use of computer programmes, the construction of new NDCs buildings and the improved access of community to schools, work, markets, healthcare facilities etc.