Saint Lucia: Philip J Pierre, the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, shared his statement, including his memories and journey of the Piaye Bridge from its fall to reconstruction, on his official social media account recently. The Piaye Bridge was inaugurated and officially opened by the Prime Minister on 23 January.
Prime Minister Philip J Pierre mentioned at the beginning of his statement how he reminded back about the day of the destruction of the bridge on the festive occasion of Christmas Eve in 2013, which took multiple lives of innocents.
Philip J Pierre said, “Although a joyous occasion, the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the Piaye Bridge brought me back to a grim day of destruction and loss of life in Saint Lucia, the Christmas Eve Trough in 2013.”
In his post, he mentioned that at the time of the destruction of the Piaye Bridge in 2013, PM Pierre was the Minister for Infrastructure of Saint Lucia, who was responsible for making access roads available to connect parts of the island nation.
Philip J Pierre mentioned, “Along with the then Prime Minister, Hon. Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, we mobilised resources to ensure that our government responded to this disaster. We were able to secure $7.35 million from the European Union for the reconstruction of this bridge.”
On the occasion of the inauguration of the Piaye Bridge, Félix Fernández Shaw was present on the moment with PM Philip J Pierre and Cabinet Ministers and EU dignitaries for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The PM also shared his gratitude towards their presence also.
PM Philip J Pierre said, “I was happy to be joined by Félix Fernández-Shaw, Director for Latin America, the Caribbean and relations with all Overseas Countries and Territories at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA), Cabinet Ministers and EU dignitaries for the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the official opening of the Piaye Bridge.”
The Piaye Bridge is a two-lane bridge built to connect the residents of Saint Lucia, who live near the localities of Soufriere, Laborie, and Choiseul, with the town of Vieux-Fort. It is intended to reduce travel time for commuters, which can lead to an increase in productivity and better economic movement.
After the destruction caused in 2013, taking lots of lives, Saint Lucia signed an agreement for the rebuilding of infrastructure on 26 April 2016 for the economic growth of the nation under the Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project.
The contract amount availed for the reconstruction of the Piaye Bridge was 5740 thousand euros, which also included the reconstruction of the Anse La Raye Venus Road. The reconstruction of Piaye Bridge is done by considering the effects of climate, and the structure is intended to resist all kinds of weather.
The project of rebuilding the Piaye Bridge was handed over to O.B. Sadoo Engineering Services and was finalised on the papers in the year 2021. After which, the construction was actually started on the ground level in February 2022, which was finally finished within time in September 2023.
The Government of Saint Lucia showed their gratitude towards the European Commission, the European Union and the World Bank for their help and cooperation in the reconstruction of the bridge. PM Philip J Pierre said about their further approach, “This financial year, we will continue to vigorously embark on climate-resilient infrastructure to update our aged facilities around the island.”
The people also shared their opinions about the construction of the Piaye Bridge and statements of PM Philip J Pierre, saying, “Congratulations, but we have to do a post analysis. Who did such a small bridge take 10 yrs to build? Who was the contractor? Was it over budget? Who was responsible for oversight in the ministry?”