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DPW Issues Stop Work Order To Liberty Mobile Over ‘Unsafe Road Work’

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — The Public Works Department has issued a stop work order on a project being performed on behalf of Liberty Communications USVI by construction contractor Bermudez, Longo, Diaz-Masso, LLC.

Virgin Islands Public Works Commissioner Derek Gabriel sent a letter to Liberty Communications of Puerto Rico Chief Executive Officer Naji Khoury, saying that “over the past two weekends, the department has been inundated by several reports of unsatisfactory and unsafe work in both the St. Croix and St. Thomas-St. John districts.”

“Most notably are the inadequate striping, performed by Lineas de Puerto Rico, Inc., in Christiansted on St. Croix, and unsafe driving conditions, mostly in the westbound lane of Route 33 between the Four Corners intersection and the Estate Hope/Pearl intersection,” on St. Thomas,” Gabriel said.

Gabriel added that his priority “will always be the safety of our public transportation infrastructure” and in his letter to Khoury wrote “these most recent, egregious actions demonstrate to me that Liberty, its contractors and subcontractors have no consideration or corporate responsibility for the public transportation infrastructure.”

“While we have made every effort to coordinate with the contractors on this project regarding the department’s expectations of traffic control and safety measures, there still seems to be a clear divide between the two parties,” Gabriel added. “At this time, I believe the prudent thing to do is to stop all work on this project for the safety of our residents. Before we allow for the contractors to re-start operations, we need assurances that this kind of irresponsible work will not happen again.”

The stop work order allows for necessary emergency repairs to improve the unsafe road conditions, according to the news release.

Customers in the territory have also been reporting service issues such as dropped calls, roaming charges and throttled data speeds.

A spokesperson for Liberty did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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