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Friday, May 03, 2013

DFID Approves Additional Funds for Lookout School Project

Street view of proposed Lookout Primary School Expansion Project (April 2011) Street view of proposed Lookout Primary School Expansion Project (April 2011)
Following discussions with the Government of Montserrat, the Department for International Development (DFID) has approved additional funding and a time extension  to complete the Lookout School Project.
On Monday, during a joint press conference with Hon. Premier Reuben Meade and DFID Programme Representative Kato Kimbugwe, it was announced that the school project, which began in early 2011 will  now be able to get back on track with additions being made to the original plans.
Originally, DFID had approved 6,895,000 EC dollars to construct more classrooms, a special education room, IT and science labs, a staff room, a teacher’s resource room and a sports and community  hall.
The project now valued at around 9.9 million EC dollars or £2.475m will include the refurbishment of the entire school as well as furnishings and equipment, also the construction of changing rooms  and a library.
The Government of Montserrat has also set out new management and supervision arrangements, which outline the Ministry of Finance as the Contracting Authority and the Project Implementation Unity  (PIU) as the project supervisor.
It is expected that the introduction of these new arrangements will bring the project back on track with an anticipated completion date in two phases. The first phase is expected to be completed  by September 2013 in time for the start of the new school year and the second phase by September 2014.

Montserrat working to comply as DFID Suspends funding for A1 Road Improvement Project

Officials from the Public Works Department says they are working to comply with the requests from the Department for International Development for more information on the A1 Road Improvement Project.

DFID on Friday announced that they have suspended further funding for the A1 Road Improvement Project in the absence of a clear plan of action from the Government of Montserrat.

DFID Programme Representative Kato Kimbugwe said they have “just completed an annual review of the project with particular emphasis on its management and implementation. DFID have consistently asked for a detailed program outlining activities and timelines to completion. This has not been forthcoming and the chaotic nature of the implementation does not give us confidence that the project is delivering as planned. Equally, it is difficult to argue that the project is demonstrating value for money let alone meeting the needs of the Montserratian public.”

Ron Beardsley, Director of PWD said they are presently working to bolster the management supervision of the road programme and will shortly complete negotiations with a project manager in order that the work can resume. He added that the lack of aggregate on island has been an on-going challenge and they are presently awaiting the arrival of materials from abroad.

“DFID are aware of the challenges that the project has faced with regard to the material supply. Nevertheless with better planning these problems could have been foreseen and the implementation programme adjusted accordingly. We are suspending any further financial contribution to the project until such a time as Government of Montserrat produces an implementation plan that clearly demonstrates an effective management framework to deliver original project objectives,” a release from the funding group stated.

A total of 23.1 million EC dollars was earmarked for the project to improve the main road and culverts from Salem to St. John. Kimbugwe said the lack of proper reporting on the project has meant that they cannot accurately account for how much of the money has already been spent for road works.


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