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Sharie ‘Watchman’ de Castro challenges Hon Vanterpool on road works spending

- said roads in a poor state despite the Communications & Works Minister claiming he spent $12.3ML on road works
Sharie B.Y. de Castro (left) has challenged Minister for Communications and Works and Fourth District Representative Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool’s account of sending $12.8ML on road works between 2015 and 2016. Photo: Provided/VINO/File
The Facebook post by Sharie B.Y. de Castro. Photo: Facebook
The Facebook post by Sharie B.Y. de Castro. Photo: Facebook
Sharie B.Y. de Castro has expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the territory’s roads despite Minister for Communications and Works and Fourth District Representative Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool claiming he spent $12.8ML on road works between 2015 and 2016. Photo: VINO/File
Sharie B.Y. de Castro has expressed dissatisfaction with the state of the territory’s roads despite Minister for Communications and Works and Fourth District Representative Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool claiming he spent $12.8ML on road works between 2015 and 2016. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – “I am convinced now more than ever that our government officials drive on private roads that we, the ordinary people, do not see or have access to! Please be honest! Who can see or feel a $12.3M improvement of roads in the Virgin Islands?” asked Sharie B.Y. ‘Watchman’ de Castro on social media.

de Castro, credited as one of the few young Virgin Islanders who have the guts to take on the politics of the day and other social ills affecting the Virgin Islands, moved to Facebook two days ago, challenging Minister for Communications and Works and Fourth District Representative Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool’s account of sending $12.8M on road works between 2015 and 2016.

“…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?”

‘My heart literally hurts’

Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4), disclosed recently in the House of Assembly that his Ministry spent $12,294,866.03 as of November 31, 2016 on road works, leaving a balance of three million, seven hundred and five thousand, one hundred thirty-three dollars and ninety-seven cents ($3,705,133.97) in the loan fund as he responded to questions from Opposition Member Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1).

“I really wouldn't like to see what the remaining $3.7M will do! My heart literally hurts for my country!” lamented de Castro.

But according to what was revealed in the HoA, remaining funds will be used for further road works in Sea Cows Bay, from Manual Reef Marina to Ebenezer Thomas Primary School; Belle Vue, from Church of God Prophecy entrance to Spring Ghut; Baughers Bay, from PWD Junction to Baughers Bay Beach entrance; Waterfront Drive, below Road Town Jetty to MacNamarra Junction; Anegada main road leading to Cow Wreck Hotel and Beach Bar and Jost Van Dyke, from Rudy’s Bar to Foxy’s Restaurant bottom Road.

Community reacts

It didn’t take long after posting on Facebook for the piece to attract responses from other community minded persons.

An Gelle wrote, “This is the point where our generation steps up. We have all the right people for the 'reclaim BVI' job. #wordonthestreet.”

Beryl B. Vanterpool opined that $16 million will never be enough to re-design all the roads in the VI. “It will take more to get the kinds of roads that are needed, the VI needs a professional road engineer to design to remodel the kind of roads that are needed in the VI.”

Phillip Hines Jr wrote, “Sharie Watchman de'Castro, girl you done geh me wound da hell up! 16 mill ya say...these "officials" steady puttin the damn cart b4 da f**ggin horse! The WHOLE infrastructure of our DONKEY roads needs to be TOTALLY REVAMPED! Here is what they good at do this order specifically....1)PAVE, 2)BUSS OPEN, 3)PATCH, 4)REPEAT. Dem man is drivin vehicles from the Jetson's time ah tings cuz I could tell ya, dem nah feel it like we ah feel it my girl! The whole damn road system here was built WITHOUT PROPER EXPANSION IN MIND! We building roads for little small car to pass when we have big trucks and safari bus take up both lanes of D road! We got laws in place where back hoe, excavator and other earth movers actually driving and blocking up traffic while their wheels actually FURTHER DAMAGE our poor likkle "roads" dem. I mean hey, i guess we should be thankful for something right? We as a people must STOP accepting this BELOW MEDIOCRE accountability and SUB STANDARD so called engineers we have and get with the rest of the MODERN WORLD.”

Devon Osborne said: “Continue to push on Sis! The people are watching and listening to you advocating strongly to stop the continued mismanagement of funds by this horrible NDP government team that is full of lip surface and no substance, just finding strategic ways to fatten their pockets that we the people continue to pay for. Hold them accountable so that they can be brought to justice even if it means the people of this territory ended up being the Governor, police, judge, jury, and jail wardens on election day since those entities are failing to respond to what is soooooo obvious.”

Standing on principles; Not looking for likes

de Castro described the issue as “Politics without principles! Wealth without work!” as she asked, “Where is the accountability? We have to speak up! 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.”

A day later she quoted the great Martin Luther King Jr, "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must take it because conscience tells him it is right."

42 Responses to “Sharie ‘Watchman’ de Castro challenges Hon Vanterpool on road works spending”

  • voter (05/01/2017, 09:17) Like (22) Dislike (3) Reply
    hummmmm the campaign started early
    • Philip (11/01/2017, 16:41) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      I have decided that my next investment will be a boat, as opposed to a car, and I will come to work every morning in it. My car is fairly new and it is already rattling. I cannot believe government claiming to have spent that much money on roads because that is a down right lie. they spent it on walls and side walks - not ROADS.
  • BigTimerz (05/01/2017, 09:27) Like (32) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sharie is correct! All these politicians claiming the country broke and driving it to the pits while they develop and enhance the businesses in which they own.
  • Yes (05/01/2017, 09:46) Like (20) Dislike (4) Reply
    ........only 3.7 mill left and most of the roads not done? Hmmm how about the manision up Mac Namara
    • MYOB (05/01/2017, 10:26) Like (10) Dislike (22) Reply
      You took a mortgage for the mansion up MacNamara? This is where we fail as a people, always minding our fellowman's business negatively and don't know how he or she is getting along or how they got where they are. The quickest thing to say is ill-gotten gain, but do you have any facts to back up your implied allegations? The minute we learn to be our brother's keeper positively, then and only then will we understand how to govern our own people. MacNamara's mansion is not the enemy or the albatross being placed around Virgin Islanders necks, far from it. Wheel and come again.
      • tha-time (05/01/2017, 12:24) Like (15) Dislike (4) Reply
        What ship are you talking. They are public figures, employed by the people. Any and all that seems inappropriate can and should be questioned. What you affraid you fattum will lose weight if the pin hit the smooth spot. The people have a right to question everything as your people NDP keeping secrets, telling quarter stories and acting dilusional/demented when caught off them crease. Whose brothers keeper are you referring to? When empty pockets suddenly get full and running over while people who out doing three and four job can't see their way one has got to wonder. BTW is people like you who done have and a grab up more without care is the albatross around the VI's neck.
      • Yes (05/01/2017, 13:10) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
        Roads still not done despite your diatribe. Needless to say, before election a man was struggling, after election he is booming. We vote, its our tax dollars, despite your protestations we have the right to ask these questions. Public persons open themselves to a higher level of scrutiny and accountability despite what they may try to hide and we have a right to ask questions. Put a sock in it!
      • Boo (05/01/2017, 13:41) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        If the cap fit then where it Mark lol!
  • Really (05/01/2017, 09:48) Like (11) Dislike (90) Reply
    Little Girl please go and sit down.
    • @Really (05/01/2017, 11:18) Like (35) Dislike (9) Reply
      You need to go sit down. It is because of people like you (bunch of leaches) why this country how it is.
    • NOT (05/01/2017, 14:21) Like (14) Dislike (2) Reply
      @Really, you need to go and sit your B........A.. down, she is 1000000000% correct. I often wonder if they are driving on special tires or if they have some type of hidden compartment under their cars that glide over the holes and bumps on the roads.
    • Ms. Diva (05/01/2017, 14:33) Like (6) Dislike (6) Reply
      @Really, you are just sitting back more than likely benifitting from this whole thing eating, drinking and getting fat like Wally Walrus with your hands in the cookie jar. Well here this, you are the little boy that need to go and sit down. Oh, stay away from the glaze doughnuts, not good for the waist line.
      • Miss Deva (07/01/2017, 15:12) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
        Look who's talking about Wally Walrus. You sound like a 115 y/o TIRED SNAPPING TURTLE y0urself. 1- BIG SPARK & NO ACTION. 2- A DULL KNIFE THAT JUST AINT CUTTING!!!
  • minister of bankruptsy (05/01/2017, 09:51) Like (19) Dislike (0) Reply
    That money was wasted if you ask me. NO VALUE FOR MONEY because we have water leaks and potholes popping up on the recently paved roads
  • Go Sharie! (05/01/2017, 10:02) Like (28) Dislike (2) Reply
    Vino how come you didn't post Kareem's comment? He courageously spoke truth in response to Sharie's post.

    Kareem Nelson:

    "I actually thought something similar the other day minus the figures because I forgot what they were. I asked my father if the shocks in political cars were specially engineered to offer special balance and bump free rides because it would annoy me everyday that this is my one job and it's not completed yet." #DontFixItForTheTouristsFixItForUs
  • Wow! (05/01/2017, 10:03) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
    Finally a few are beginning to realize that this country is going to hell with the system now in place (does not matter which party unless the thinking of one or the other changes). How about the airport money ($150+ million) being spent on infrastructure, then attract the tourists?? The tourists I speak with, do not like the BVI because of trash, sewer smells and pot holes. YEH for Shari & Eileen.
  • Snapper (05/01/2017, 10:15) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    What is missing from Mark/PWD is how much linear feet of road was worked on, in what manner (asphalt vs concrete), how much drainage/curbs etc. and at what rates (inclusive of labour also). I really don't see value for money in any of these road works. The main beneficiaries are BVI Paving and the ready-mix companies.

    Why didn't one of the former heads (Glasgow) whom is an engineer set standards for classifications of roads in the territory with standard construction details/designs? Construction issues are one thing but are compounded by poor design and maintenance principles. The rampant cronyism has given us the failing infrastructure and lack of value for money at a time when we need value to exceed what we presently achieve! Darker days ahead as the fledgling industries we depend on for revenues are stressed just like our poor infrastructure.
  • M & M (05/01/2017, 10:23) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Who took the cookie jar
  • good grief (05/01/2017, 10:56) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    I know that road building is expensive but still it is crazy to imagine that over 13 mill has been spent on these roads in the last little while. It simply cannot be. The entire road network on Tortola is in a deplorable sorry state, I actually think that the roads were better when I arrived here in 1996 than they are now! We pay our annual road tax but frankly I think they should be waiving that tax for the next little while and paying the driving public to drive on these roads. The amount of $$$ I paid to Burke's Garage in 2016 for car repairs on my 5 year old SUV because of these roads - it makes my blood boil! I will never buy another new car to drive in Tortola. That entire Ridge Road is like an obstacle course. They finally came maybe 6 months ago and paved (black topped) a portion of the government road that leads to our home and there is already a huge crater in a part of it which will in time stretch across the entire width of the road. Sloppy, inefficient, no engineering, don't know what they are doing, waste of time and money caliber of road work. That is what is going on in the entire island, it is crazy! I applaud Ms Decastro for stepping forward and demanding some accountability. Please all jump on that bandwagon and hold this government to full account. This actually needs the entire island to revolt and say enough is enough!
  • Sigh (05/01/2017, 11:03) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    @ Really
    "Little girl please go sit down"? You might be one of those benefiting from "under the table" robbery of "the people's money".....but trust me; that money won't prosper; neither you if you are indeed indulging in such deception. Enough is enough!! These islands should have been much further than we are now. Too much greed; no accountability; and too much getting away with "high way" robbery. Either do the right thing or no doubt; exposure will come. These are our islands.....and whether or not it's our family or friends in these positions doing wrong; we need to speak out. Call right, right; Call wrong, wrong. The consequences affects us ALL!!
  • Political Observer (PO) (05/01/2017, 11:22) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    The VI road network is poorly designed, constructed, maintained, repaired, and rehabilitated. This increases the cost to put a mile of road in place, results in premature deterioration, poor road quality and rideability........etc. The VI has about 70 center line miles of road, The question is what is the cost to construct or maintain a mile of road? How does this cost equate to other regional locales? Who inspects road construction projects to ensure work put in place is consistent with the plans and specifications? Who inspects the asphalt to ensure it is the right temperature and of the right proportion mix? In addition to the factors noted above, another problem is the awarding of road contracts to inexperience contractors. Road construction and maintenance is much more than just laying down some asphalt or concrete.

    Ok. We spent approx $12.3M of the $16M loan from social security to reconstruct/redo roads. How much did taxpayers gets for $12.3M? Apparently not much, for the road condition is horrible. The condition is more Third World than First World. How many miles or number of square yards of work put in place? Did taxpayers get quality and quantity for their $12.3M investment? Did the taxpayers get value for money? Does the expenditure of the road loan needs an audit?

    Moreover, the management of the road network needs to be revamped. A major cause of premature road failure is poor drainage, especially ponding on the roadways. Poor drainage is a nemesis of road design life, functionality, high quality and rideability. E. Leonard had two road construction and maintenance commentaries last year on another online periodical. Perhaps he can have them run on this site. Further, if we got so little for $12.3M what will be get for $3.7M? Probably not much.

    A good road network is an essential infrastructure for economic growth, development, and sustainility. There are so few miles of road in the BVI that well trained Public Works personnel with the proper equipment should be capable of constructing and maintaining quality roads. The first order of business is to get a seasoned and experienced engineer, preferably a civil engineer, in charge of public works. No diss intended for Bummer. Public Works needs an engineer and badly. Under the current leadership Public Works has peaked. Roads have definite design lives but to get the life, assuming proper design and construction, an aggressive and well-resourced maintenance programme is needed. Furthermore, roads must be designed and constructed to safety and effectively carry the heaviest wheel load that will use use them.
    • But wait (05/01/2017, 12:09) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      Who is the deputy director at pwd with responsibility for engineering matters? Is it not Donovan?
      • @But wait/ Employee (05/01/2017, 13:32) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
        Hello! Please refrain from using his name. He is not responsible for engineering matters. He is the deputy director/quantity surveyor for PWD. Kindly call the PS. He KNOWS everything that is happening. What ever happens in the dark will come to light. It will unfold before our eyes. There are individuals who believe that because they are in high positions they can do as they are please. But there is a God that does not sleep. Tell me why the main road from East End to West End can not be completed. Im guessing that I'm asking for too much because the road in the capital is a disgrace.
      • @But Wait (05/01/2017, 15:43) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
        @But Wait, having the Deputy PWD be an engineer is not a solution for the lack of top leadership not being an engineer. Though the PWD director may not be engaged in daily nuts and bolts of engineering, he/she must be verse in the principles and practices of engineering to be collegiate. It keeps the director from getting a 6 for 9. It says to subordinates that they cannot produce substandard work. It keeps it real.
    • answer (05/01/2017, 17:01) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      "Who inspects road construction projects to ensure work put in place is consistent with the plans and specifications? Who inspects the asphalt to ensure it is the right temperature and of the right proportion mix?"

      I think I can answer that question......uuummmmm....NOBODY..... There are no standards or accountability in this place. The worse part to me is driving on a road that is about to be paved the next day or same day. That is madness in my opinion. I can the road ever be smooth or even??? The common sense thing would be to close and pave one lane at a time, while allowing traffic in only one direction if you must. Traffic fort he next lane should be redirected/re-routed. I swear these people don't think or don't have any common sense.
  • Very Concerned!! (05/01/2017, 12:37) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    I am a BVIslander and I am certainly not happy at the moment with the Govenment I elected. However, we need to be careful how we look to change Governments left and right. The NDP needs a "come to Jesus moment" but by the public protesting and putting their feet back to the fire. I admire Ms. P and her letter. Only friends can do that to each other and every body in life needs a good friend to tell them the truth no matter the consequences. Everybody needs at least one of those. Governments every where are complaining and countries every where are becoming increasingly difficult to govern in this global economy. It is challenging and I am not convinced that those who think they can do better actually can or will, but I am convinced that we can get much worse than where we are now with the NDP if the wrong people are elected next election. Let's come together as a people and figure this one out together. Put down the party politics, as moving from one group of people to the other is not good for governance and has not proven to solve the problem. I do not believe the NDP is wilfully in there doing nonsense. Govenments are hard to run but it looks easy from the outside. VIP has been there and did the same or worse. It makes no sense to play political chairs with this country anymore. The Government needs help and we who elected them should do so by marching if we have to against some of this stuff. It is not an opportunity to gain votes or further separate along party lines by raising vexed issues. It is an opportunity to put down party politics and come together with all our collective ideas and make the Government listen to us. One or two cannot do it, but a multitude of us can bombard them and they will have to listen. The question is who will lead the charge without having a party associated political agenda?
  • Oh yeah (05/01/2017, 12:43) Like (2) Dislike (8) Reply
    I believe that mark is doing a good job fixing the roads. One of the problem I see with this road paving project is the quality of material used in the process. The quality of the asphalt is poor to say the least. The roads will never stay strong as long as the government continue to use this poor grade asphalt. The VI is the only place where I see plants growing through the asphalt. That goes to show the poor quality of the asphalt. The asphalt plant from China is not working and the private company is ripping the government off.
    • chad (05/01/2017, 16:45) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
      How can Mark be doing a good job by putting poor grade asphalt on the roads.
  • conclusion (05/01/2017, 14:22) Like (13) Dislike (4) Reply
    Ok is it fair to say Mark is the worst Road Minister of all time? Please click like if you agree. Seek professional advice if you don't. :-)
  • Bushmaster (05/01/2017, 14:32) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Fix it Jesus!......Fix it. The Anguillian is out of control
  • A Culture of scratching hands. (05/01/2017, 19:17) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Everybody involved in the buy of Generators get their hands scratch go along with that anyone involved in Big contracts get their hands scratch nicely. VIP,, NDP.. Which ever P and it won't stop..
  • Time Alone. (05/01/2017, 19:27) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    She is on to something. Time and time alone will tell us the truth.
  • Sen help (05/01/2017, 22:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    God help us to see the next election WOTE DEM ASSES OUT ONE BY ONE. DONT LEAVE ONE OF THEM IN COUNCIL. A CLEAN SLATE AND A NEW START/BEGINNING FOR THESE VIRGIN ISLANDS. Let them walk about like Christopher, with bearded faces and looking poorly and shamed faced. Other Caribbean islands cleaning up why can't we.
    Don't leave one in there in the name of NDP. A LANDSLIDE for the contending parties whoever they may be with COMMON SENSE and a VISION for our beautiful Virgin Islands and its PEOPLE
  • qc (05/01/2017, 23:05) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    What goes around comes around Mr Vanterpool
    • Stemetil (06/01/2017, 08:25) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      He should not be holding office in the first place.
      Do you think any Tortolian could go to Anguilla,
      no matter how long they lived there, and hold a cabinet position in the government. NO.
      Only BVI ignorant so.
  • after the 2011 election (06/01/2017, 08:06) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    them say MV is rich again
  • Vg woman (06/01/2017, 10:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    But according to what was revealed in the HoA, remaining funds will be used for further road works in Sea Cows Bay, from Manual Reef Marina to Ebenezer Thomas Primary School; Belle Vue, from Church of God Prophecy entrance to Spring Ghut; Baughers Bay, from PWD Junction to Baughers Bay Beach entrance; Waterfront Drive, below Road Town Jetty to MacNamarra Junction; Anegada main road leading to Cow Wreck Hotel and Beach Bar and Jost Van Dyke, from Rudy’s Bar to Foxy’s Restaurant bottom Road....

    Is this a typo? I dint see VIRGIN GORDA anywhere there? We need road works too!
  • Vg woman (06/01/2017, 10:35) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    MARK! you also promised to fix VG port. dont wait until one of these tourist get injured to sue the government. Prevention better than cure!
  • ausar (06/01/2017, 13:19) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Competent engineers is what's needed no political cronies from any district

    Until this happens, the BVI could kiss sound structural roads goodbye!
  • v (06/01/2017, 13:30) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Ms. De Castro I admire you for this and the article is right; there are few who have the guts to ditch the screen names, come from behind the computer screens, show their faces and stand up for the country that we all live in. Someone has to make a stand and show them that people are tired, they are frustrated, and aren't willing to stand for corruption any longer. The more they squander, the less they leave for future generations to come...that affects us all.
  • Jak (11/01/2017, 16:38) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    When are the roads going to get fixed? It must be that the money was paid, but the work not yet started. The moneys spent was not on roads, but on some walls arould the country. Now it is time to get to the roads. It is impossible for government to have spent that much money on ROADS and the are all so terrible - Not a good stretch to Town from any direction. It is DAMN impossible for that much money to have been spent on ROADS.

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