Categorized | National News

DPM Admits Error

Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis admitted that he made a major administrative error within his ministry by approving Paradigm Construction to construct a dormitory at the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute (BAMSI) without an insurance certificate, which is a prerequisite.

In his communication to the House of Assembly yesterday, Minister Davis revealed that the contractor, Audley Hanna, trading as Paradigm Construction breached his contract.

He explained that the contractor provided all the documents required to qualify as a contractor, except a certificate for All Risk Insurance and only a quotation from Royal Star Insurance was on file.

“There can be no plausible explanation for an administrative error such as that which has occurred in this case, I should not speculate that any agreement existed, but if there was an agreement for the ministry to advance the premium to the insurance company from the contractor’s mobilisation payment, this should have been done,” the deputy prime minister said.

“I mention this because I am advised that this has been done in the past to assist contractors’ qualification for contractual works. In this case, however, it was incumbent on the contractor, having been paid full mobilisation, to ensure that the insurance premium, which was a mere $23,746.65, was paid immediately. If he had done so, a certificate of insurance would have been included on our file from the outset; therefore, the contractor was in breach.”

He further explained that the contactor is liable for the damages to the dorm.

“Given the fact that the dormitory was not complete and has not been turned over to the government, by contract, the contractor stands fully liable for the construction outlay to date, which totals $2,550.864.15,” he said.

“My ministry is now making a determination as to how we will recover this loss from the contractor.”

Mr. Davis said the government is now faced with two options, to either reconstruct the building from its foundation or demolish the entire structure.

Reconstruction cost is pegged approximately $5.5 million.

He explained that the increase in cost takes into consideration the cost to reconfigure the units from single to double occupancy, ordinary inflation, and value-added tax (VAT).

As a result, Minister Davis said the net cost to government will be the cost of reconstruction, less the expenditure for the structure destroyed by fire which accounts to just under $3 million.
“I am constrained to call out the actions of technical officers whose duty it is to be good stewards of the people’s money and to lessen governments’ exposure to potentially embarrassing situations,” he said.

“Given the experience of my technical team and the checks and balances of our bureaucracy, there was no reason to suppose that such an administrative error would be missed for so long. Beyond that, the public fully and rightly expects all government officials to be above reproach in protecting the public’s interests. For my ministry, notwithstanding its difficulty, I should hope that this matter is taken as a learning tool.”

He added that although the issue is an avoidable error on the part of the ministry, he does not think that any reasonable person would find malicious intent on their part.

On January 15 the male dormitory was destroyed by fire.

Dave Dion Moxey, 50, of Fresh Creek Andros was charged with arson in connection to the incident.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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