Minister of Communication and Works Mark Vanterpool said he is prepared to meet with a former election candidate of the opposition party to prove to her that he has achieved ‘value for money’ in relation to the $16 million road repair project being funded by the Social Security Board.
Former election candidate Sharie DeCastro this week took to social media to question whether the territory received value for money.
She did so after Vanterpool told the House of Assembly that only $3.7million of the funds was left up to the end of November 2016.
DeCastro lamented: “Who can see or feel a $12.3M improvement of roads in the Virgin Islands? That is how much the government has spent thus far of the $16M unsecured loan it borrowed from the Social Security Board for road works back in 2015 before the snap election. Where is the value for money? I really wouldn’t like to see what the remaining $3.7M will do!”
In response, Vanterpool noted that he had provided the House of Assembly with a break-down of how the money was spent.
“I am very satisfied that the money expended so far is value for money,” he told BVI News Online last evening.
He went on to state that, had he not being frugal, the loan already would have been completely spent.
“In fact, we saved quite a bit on the project than if we had done it by the way of taking out a major contract [with a private firm] or something like that. The estimates on the project that we got; we were way below those estimates. We are utilizing the [state-owned] Public Works [Department] to oversee the project.”
“We are very satisfied that we have accomplished quite a bit. We did not construct the roads by just laying asphalt as we had done in the past. We have gone and engineered the roads…” Vanterpool further told BVI News Online.
Happy to sit down with her
He, in the meantime, stated that he appreciates the advocacy of the much younger DeCastro, adding that they are both very good friends.
“I am sure I will be able to sit down with Ms Sharie DeCastro. She is a young person who I am sure is willing to learn; I would be happy to sit down with her and go over it (spending) detail by detail to show her how we got value for money. She is a very good friend of mine.”
“I will personally take up the phone and call her at some point, and have her come to my office so she will be able to understand what we’ve done [with the money]. She is free to criticize and free to ask questions,” added Vanterpool.
DeCastro, who also said she gets along very well with Vanterpool, made it clear that her concerns are based on principle.
“I will stand on principle even if I stand alone! I’m not looking for likes. I’m looking for people who love this country enough to publicly stand up, say enough is enough and demand positive change,” DeCastro said.
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