Members of the House of Assembly yesterday passed amendments to the Roads (Amendment) Bill, 2018, that would see the fine for digging up roads and not repairing them increase from $75 to $10,000.
“Utilities will now be held to account,” Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said.
“They will have to ensure that they hire competent professionals to restore the road and that they have a safety manager to supervise the work to ensure that they live up to their legal obligation.
“…This is a welcomed amendment because as I have indicated utilities have by and large been too lax in restoring roads properly. This amendment will bite them in the pocket book if they are lax and will ensure that they pay attention to the safety needs of road users.”
The bill increases the fine for any person (including utility companies) that excavate roads without permission of the minister or does not restore a road properly from $75 to $10,000.
“The person will also be liable to additional penalties that may be imposed by the minister,” Bannister noted.
“Where someone does in fact excavate the road illegally, they must immediately fill it in after the work has been done and must restore the surface to the satisfaction of the minister.
“Moreover sir, until they have finally restored the road, they must take all necessary precautions to prevent injury, damage or loss to any person who is using the roads and if they do not do so they will be liable for any injury or damage that their actions have caused.”
The bill was debated as the opposition continued its second week of boycotting Parliament.