Newbold: Nothing untoward in WSC Long Island contract
Following accusations from former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts that the government failed to carry out a proper tender process for the contract of water mains in Long Island, Press Secretary in the Office of The Prime Minister Anthony “Ace” Newbold yesterday said the government followed proper procedure and did nothing wrong.
In a statement on Sunday, Roberts questioned why Bahamas Hot Mix Company Limited (BHM Co. Ltd.), a company owned by the family of Minister of Immigration Brent Symonette, was awarded the contract.
Roberts asked, “Why was the contract not awarded to a local company – Rowdy Boys – with many years of delivering quality work around The Bahamas and the prospect of saving the cash-strapped Water and Sewerage Corporation over $3 million in the process?
“Remember now, the proverbial cupboard is bare, and the government is in a state of fiscal austerity.
“Does that austerity apply to Brent Symonette?
“Anyway, awarding Rowdy Boys is a no-brainer, as conventional wisdom dictates this.”
Addressing the allegations made by Roberts in an email yesterday, Newbold said that there were 11 companies that submitted bids for that contract.
“Bids ranged from $2.2 million – which came from Rowdy Boys – to the highest, $6.4 million.
“BHM Co. Ltd. at $5.41 million was the sixth-highest bidder; five companies were ahead of them.”
Newbold said the tenders were sent to an independent assessor in Jamaica, who, to the government’s knowledge, has no personal knowledge of the local companies.
He noted that the qualifications for the contract included proof of experience in similar jobs, financial capability and audited financial statements.
“Last December, the water corporation, in conjunction with the Inter-American Development Bank and Caribbean Development Bank, held a seminar on the bidding process explaining the importance of meeting the criteria for winning such contracts,” Newbold said.
“Despite this, some companies did not submit the audited financial statement as one of the requirements.
“Companies were admonished to improve their standards and qualifications, readiness and be prepared to joint venture if necessary.”
Newbold said BHM Co. Ltd. rated high on the deficiency meter, registering only a one out of 10 for a 99 percent high score.
He added that other companies scored between 76 percent and 40 percent, and two of the companies were disqualified for conflict of interest.