(Photo Credit: Ahreefa Bacchus/BVI Platinum News)
As the recovery and rebuilding process continues in the territory, Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Andrew Fahie has assured local contractors that they will be awarded contracts.
This, he explained, is to ensure that the local companies benefit from the money being spent on the rebuilding process.
During the recent contract signing for the restoration of the Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) building, where four local contractors inked contracts totaling $3.7 million with the Government for that project, the Premier said, “We are excited about the opportunity to engage the local construction industry and to give local contractors—who I have every confidence in, regardless of their affiliations, because we are a Government of inclusion—a piece of the action as they often say.”
He went on to say, “We assure our local contractors that they are very much key partners in the rebuilding of our territory and as long as I am Premier in this Government, we will fight as the old people say, tooth and nail, to ensure our local contractors are a main part of this rebuilding of this territory.”
According to Hon. Fahie, the goal is “to create opportunism and invest in potential.”
While these assurances are being made by the Premier that local contractors will be given contracts, there have been concerns by the Recovery and Development Agency (RDA) that the local contractors are not putting in an effort to bid for these contracts.
Just last month, Head of Procurement at the RDA, Mr. John Primo expressed his disappointment, saying, “When me and my team, when we put out our tender opportunities, we only receive one tender. Sometimes we don’t receive any.”
In addressing a gathering of contractors, he had reminded that over the next five years, “We have about $700 million to $800 million to spend.”
Mr. Primo had stressed that there are business opportunities, however, persons must make an effort to benefit.
Also, in January, there were complaints that local contractors are not registering on the Contractors Registration and Classification System (CRCS), which would position them to benefit from contracts under the $65 million Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Loan (RRL).
Director of the Department of Disaster Management, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo, MBE, who is working closely with the Ministry of Finance’s Project Support Unit, had lamented this situation, explaining that a notice was issued for contractors to register.
Registering would make it easier to identify qualified contractors that meet the standards and requirements to undertake recovery projects that are not open to tender, by grading and classifying them.