Categorized | National News


The Chairman Emeritus of the Progressive Liberal Party, Bradley Roberts  says the Long Island Water main contracts reeks with corrupt cronyism. 

Mr. Roberts who is recovering  at home from surgery in a commentary yesterday said, “one of the latest salvo is the contract awarded to Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM) in the wake of the 9 April 2018 opening of the sealed tenders for the water mains in Long Island.

“First of all, Bahamas Hot Mix Limited did not submit the lowest bid. In fact, this New Providence based company submitted one of the highest bids for this project. I am constrained to ask why BHM was selected. What added value does BHM bring this project to justify their selection given the fact that BHM’s bid was more than $3 million or a whopping 239% higher than the Long Island construction firm, Rowdy Boys Construction? BHM bid was $5.41 million and Rowdy Boys bid $2.26 million, a difference of $3.14 million.”

Mr. Roberts said, “as the Minister with responsibility for public works and the public corporation Water and Sewerage (WSC), I engaged the professional services of Rowdy Boys therefore I am well aware of the quality of their work nationwide. The mobilization cost of New Providence based companies such as BHM places them at a distinct disadvantage and the BHM’s bid price clearly confirms this.

“This contract award is one of the latest decisions of this government to fly in the face of what is now the empty campaign rhetoric of Dr. Minnis and the FNM about eliminating public waste, becoming more fiscally responsible and being better stewards of the public purse. Did I mention eliminating corruption and cronyism to make way for the people’s time? We now know this to be a bunch of hot air that rings hollow.

“We also know that FNM Cabinet Minister Brent Symonette and his family are major shareholders in BHM. Was that an influential factor in the bid committee’s decision? It certainly appears that way. With a declared net worth of some $157 million, one would think that Brent Symonette would have his fill of the proverbial low hanging fruit – the easy government contract; apparently, at $157 million and counting, Brent is still not yet full or satisfied,” said Mr.Roberts.

 He 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.

“This decision is a self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts and certainly confirms the complaints and constructive criticism voiced by Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine of the FNM government.

“The problem with our government…when I talk about it, I am talking about the Free National Movement government – there is a perception out there that every time we come to power, we are either for the white, the light, the rich and the famous or the well connected,” he reportedly said to the media outside of the House of Assembly last Monday.

“We must change” said Mr. McAlpine as he continued his swipe at apparent special interest pandering and cronyism, admonishing the FNM government to demonstrate that they “are a government for the people, of the people and by the people – all the people.”

“You can’t get in on the backs of the common men and women in this country, and then at the end of the day turnaround and seem to be, not necessarily the case, but seem to be – the perception seems to be – pandering to a special interest group,” he said.

The former MP  said, “In a parting shot, perhaps the WSC Executive Board Chairman can explain why a successful bidder has not been selected and a contract awarded nine months after the sealed tenders for the Cat Island Water Mains Installation Project were opened and documented. August 2017 was a long time ago and no movement on the matter since then,” said Mr. Roberts.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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