Development Bank boosts ventures of a Nevisian heavy equipment operator

CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS — The Nevis Island Administration (NIA) has, through its Ministry of Communications, Works and Public Utilities, embarked on the ambitious multi-million Hanley’s Road Rehabilitation project that is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year.

The project which involves the widening and resurfacing of the Gingerland’s Hanley’s Road from Market Shop to the end has a budget of EC$8 million. Even though work is being carried out by the Public Works Department, local contractors and operators have not been left out.

One such operator is Mr Junior ‘Duncan’ Mills, CEO of Duncan Heavy Equipment Rentals, who describes his job in the project as that of the main operator. He feels that the Nevis Island Administration is giving back to the community of the area by offering that job to one of them as he grew up in the Hanley’s Road area.

“This project is a really big one being rolled out by the Nevis Island Administration and of course I am from this area,” said Mr Mills. “I am very active down here in the Empire Sports Club, and I myself I always make a lot contribution towards down here, so I figured maybe that is why they gave me first preference to do the job down here.”

He however puts it straight that he was not given the job simply because he is from the area, but rather because he is qualified to do the job having been in that business from his days in school. He thanks the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis which last year afforded him the opportunity to buy a larger excavation machine that is suited for such a job.

“My Dad was always involved in heavy equipment,” recalls Mr Mills. “Those days we didn’t have a lot of backhoes and stuff like that, but he always had trucks and even when I was a kid I used to run from school and he would fill the drums with water and then I would drive the truck and go over to the pasture to water the cows and the goats.”

After leaving school he joined forces with his father and they worked together until about seven years ago when he branched off and set up his own operations. He invested in a mini excavator which he used in his landscaping business, and since there were more jobs on offer he decided to go for a bigger excavator.

The large excavator he identified in Miami was out of his reach price-wise. To ensure that his dreams came to fruition he approached the Nevis branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis. They listened to his case diligently following which the loan was approved, and he brought home the large excavator in September last year.

“Since I acquired this machine I have been really, really busy,” said Mr Mills. “I had already made my name, so once people know I have a machine for myself they will want to use my services. Maybe this road job probably might be the biggest one really, but I have done several jobs. So work right now is really not a problem.”

When Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, Manager for the Nevis Branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, paid him a visit on site last week she found him working from inside the Maynard’s Ghaut. He explained to her that he was cutting the land so as to build a stone wall that will prevent rain water running off the road from destroying people’s lands.

“Why the machine is sitting there in the ghaut-side is that there is going to be more water coming down the road and stuff like,” explained Mr Mills. “So what we are trying to do is to put in a stone wall at the back of the people land so that they could protect the land.

“We do not want erosion and stuff like that, so we are trying of course to protect the people because as I said it is going to be a lot more water coming down the road, so that is why I am presently there in the ghaut.”

According to the bank official, Mr Junior Mills was well prepared for the loan interview when he made the application. She explained that he had a business plan, which is very important when someone is applying for a business loan. She however said that the Development Bank assists persons who do not have business plans to prepare one.

“Mr Mills is very passionate about his business,” said Ms Pemberton. “He has over 20 years of experience, and has demonstrated not only technical skills but also managerial skills. From the first encounter we felt that the project was one that the bank would like to be involved with.

“While we felt that there is a number of heavy equipment on the island, his experience and contacts from working with his father he has demonstrated his ability to gain a fair market share. The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis is out to support more of such talented and hardworking people and our doors are open to them.”

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