PREMIER CLARIFIES REMARKS BUT INSISTS ROAD PROJECT IS VITAL
Premier Alden McLaughlin has issued an apology to Davenport Development Ltd for erroneously naming the company in a government project to build an access road through Grand Harbour to Red Bay Estates and Admiral Landing.
He made the remark during Monday night’s Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum while outlining steps being taken to alleviate traffic bottlenecks in the area.
“We have today reached an agreement with respect to local access from Selkirk Drive into the Grand Harbour and Davenport Development,” Mr McLaughlin had said.
That prompted a stern response from the company in a statement on Wednesday.
“Davenport has not made any recent agreements with the Government regarding the creation of local access at Grand Harbour. Indeed, we do not own the land in negotiation.”
“This is a lie,” the company said.
Admitting the error, Mr McLaughlin explained, “I simply reported what I understood from the briefing I received from the ministry responsible. I was not in any of the meetings. If I was mistaken in naming Davenport, then I apologise.”
Regarding the overall project, Premier McLaughlin went on to state that he has rechecked and has again been advised that “the Grand Harbour developer is as keen as government is to find a solution to the traffic congestion in the Red Bay area for which we are all grateful. The ministry staff is working on finalising the terms of the agreement before the roadway is gazetted.”
Davenport Development Ltd said it “was not in any conversations with the Government on Monday. In fact, Davenport has not had discussions on this matter prior to 2020, when the matter was decided, and we were told quite clearly that the access road was off the table."
The company said its clients have been upset and were calling since the broadcast, "questioning Davenport’s integrity since we communicated the Government’s earlier position".
“They purchased and have been misled by the words of the Unity Government that we passed on to them.”
According to the company, "Sadly, the voters in Davenport’s newest development Arvia must now make a decision if they will invest or withdraw. These words have sabotaged our business and our reputation, something that is abhorrent to us.”
The scathing statement added: “Davenport Development wishes our loyal and valued purchasers to know that we have been blindsided by this announcement and are investigating how such false information came to be published.”
In further setting out to clarify the issue, Mr McLaughlin stated that he is advised that the approval of Davenport is not required as they do not own the property or the Grand Harbour road.
“Despite their objections which are disappointing, I do believe that this local access road will only enhance Davenport’s ability to sell their units. Their development will disgorge dozens more vehicles on to an already severely overtaxed Red Bay road system.
"When they started the development they would have been aware of the issue and that the development would make traffic matters worse,” Mr McLaughlin said.
“In any event,” Mr McLaughlin continued, “it is government's responsibility to find solutions to alleviate the traffic congestion and improve the quality of life of Red Bay and Prospect residents and indeed all those who live east of Grand Harbour.”
He pointed out that “Government has been patiently working to resolve this issue for some years now,” and concluded by saying: “As the representative of Red Bay and Premier I am out of patience. We must resolve this issue now."
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