The historic Front Street on Grand Turk damaged by Hurricane Joaquin
By Caribbean News Now contributor
GRAND TURK, TCI -- While the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) capital of Grand Turk has been plagued with water shortages and dilapidated roads across the island, Hurricane Joaquin dealt another blow to the neglected infrastructure by eroding a major portion of the historic Front Street.
A section of the road suffered major damage and will remain closed until further notice, according to a statement from the government’s press office.
The current and former Progressive National Party (PNP) administrations’ formula for running the British territory’s finances has come in for much criticism due to the lack of funds spent on maintaining critical public infrastructure such as roads, and essential human resource spending has also been ignored and underfunded by the PNP government, essentially continuing a program of austerity put in place by the UK-run interim government from 2009 to 2012.
According to local observers, Premier Rufus Ewing’s government has embraced this process of underfunding since it produces a budget surplus that allows them to tout their success regionally and abroad while crucial matters at home are left unattended.
The TCI government is also on a mission to retire a loan guarantee by Britain in February that is projected to give it some breathing room to implement needed infrastructure repair.
In the meantime, a public outcry over the poor state of public infrastructure and limited resources in many government departments has fallen on deaf ears.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) shadow minister of infrastructure took the government to task in September over congestion in the most populated island of Providenciales after school opened. Motorists were delayed hours at the start of the school year.