Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister yesterday defended the decision to award Bahamas Hot Mix three contracts for water improvement projects on the Family Islands, noting that all of the other companies that submitted bids were disqualified for not meeting the requirements of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB).
Cabinet minister Brent Symonette’s children’s trust is a shareholder in Bahamas Hot Mix.
A list of bids for the project in Crooked Island, which was obtained by The Nassau Guardian, revealed that Bahamas Hot Mix bid $1.91 million for the project, Island Site Development (ISD) bid $1.46 million, Waugh Construction bid $2.1 million, CGT Contractors and Developers bid $1.69 million and Apex Underground bid $1.27 million.
The list of bids for the two projects in Long Island revealed that Bahamas Hot Mix bid $2.01 million and $2.11 million.
Island Site Development bid $2.35 million and $2.48 million.
Apex Underground bid $1.69 million and $1.51 million, and CGT Contractors bid $2.26 million and $1.97 million.
Speaking about the award process, Bannister said, “This is a CDB project. So being a CDB project, they are familiar [with] what happens in local communities throughout the Caribbean. So what they do is they hire a company out of Jamaica called N.O. Whyte. Once the bid comes in, the bids go to N.O. Whyte in Jamaica…
“N.O. Whyte evaluates them and then sends the information back to the company. Under the CDB, in order to get a CDB loan, there are certain criteria that you have to have in place.”
Bannister said the contract is awarded to the company that has the lowest evaluated bid and is deemed to be the most qualified to perform the contract satisfactorily.
He said the firm also looks at the company’s eligibility, historical contract non-performance, financial situation, experience, personnel and equipment.
“In Long Island, there were four companies and you have the figures,” the minister said.
“You see, where this company called Apex had the lowest amount on the tender and…I don’t have that in front of me but there are four of them.”
He added, “There is something that’s called non-conformity when they are evaluating them. Carl G. Treco (CGT) had eight non-conformities by the evaluator. Apex had seven non-conformities.
“So, those two were set aside; they did not conform to what the Caribbean Development Bank would’ve wanted so then you go between Hot Mix and ISD. ISD had one non-conformity and Hot Mix had zero.”
Bannister said the initial evaluation process ruled out most of the companies so it was down to Hot Mix and Island Site Development for the Crooked Island contract.
However, according to the minister, ISD was “disqualified because it did not meet the current ratio” in spite of its lower bid.
Bannister said a current ratio is “your liquid assets in the bank compared to the percentage of the contract”.
When called for a comment yesterday, Progressive Liberal Part (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis criticized the government for the awards to Bahamas Hot Mix.
He called on the government to be more transparent with its process of awarding contracts.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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