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Protocol breach? Gov’t skips bidding process for ferry dock project

By Davion Smith, BVI News Staff

Government may have breached the Protocols of Effective Financial Management — an agreement signed with the United Kingdom roughly six years ago to ensure transparency and accountability as it relates to handling public funds.

The suspected breach was in relation to the half-million-dollar Road Town Ferry Terminal renovation project completed in May.

According to Section 11b of the agreement, “ALL projects must be subjected to a tendering and procurement process that guarantees the highest level of transparency and fairness practicable.”

But, while answering questions in the House of Assembly on Thursday, Works Minister Mark Vanterpool admitted government did not invite any contractors to bid on the project.

He said, instead, two contractors were hired for the job after receiving an endorsement.

“Due to time constraints and the need for urgent attention following hurricanes Irma and Maria and [due to] damages to the ports, recommendations were made to the BVI Ports Authority by the then project manager and the then acting manager to engage Sun State builders on October 31, 2017 in the sum of $445,431.79 and J&B Maintenance in the sum of $30,000 for remedial works and roof repairs at the port,” Vanterpool explained.

He did not give any indication the UK had relaxed the conditions of the 2012 agreement to allow government to sidestep the mandated tendering process.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Andrew Fahie was sceptical about Vanterpool’s explanation. He suggested Vanterpool’s claim of ‘time constraints’ was an excuse given the project was only undertaken ‘the other day’ — several months after Hurricane Irma.

‘No sense to erect temporary West End dock now’ 

Vanterpool and the National Democratic Party government also came under pressure for the West End Ferry terminal, which is yet to reopen since the 2017 disasters.

The minister said government has had to abandon their initial plan to erect a temporary facility at the West End dock because the territory is now faced with another hurricane season.

“One has to make decisions as we go along, based on the circumstances. The circumstance that prevails now is one which says it wouldn’t make sense to put a temporary tent that can withstand up to 40 or 50 miles an hour winds when we are approaching the hurricane season,” Vanterpool said.

“Since the temporary season has passed without hurricanes, we should look for more permanent solutions at this point.”

The minister said government is now working conjunctively with the Ports Authority to erect a ‘better facility’ that can withstand hurricane force winds and house Customs and Immigration officers.

Unspecified time when West End dock will reopen

Asked fresh questions in relation to when such a facility will be erected, Vanterpool said he does not know.

“I don’t want to venture on any date until we can come to a point where we can assure the [House of Assembly] member (Fahie) and the public that we are ready to open the West End port. We will strive to do that as soon as possible. I am aware as minister that it is essential to the country’s growth and to the country’s economy and I am very anxious to see it open as quickly as possible … But, I cannot give a specific date at this time,” he told the House of Assembly.

Vanterpool and his ministry has been promising to erect a semi-permanent structure at the West End port but has not honoured any of their promised timelines.

One of the latest updates was given in March when Permanent Secretary in Vanterpool’s ministry, Anthony McMaster said the terminal would open in late April or early May.

Copyright 2018 BVI News, Media Expressions Limited. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

29 Comments

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  1. Wow says:

    A other tent
    Just open a campground then

  2. Hmm says:

    I really dont understand what the UK is doing or allowing to happened to this country.

  3. Lol says:

    Lack of Akshun strikes again! The reason given for flouting the tender process has been used over and over again – and I call it as I see it as BS! When will this charade end and this useless tool relegated to the political rubbish bin? Another hurricane season and NDP has failed miserably.

  4. VICKIE says:

    How can we the people leave this ministry go on spending money like this no bidding. I guess the first and second is doing their dirty tricks again. I think it is time the UK step in this ministry is c— to the core because there is two rats running around in there.

    • Not2Sure says:

      Always the same Minister. 10 months now since Hurricane Irma, but all of a sudden it is “urgent” and no tender process can be undertaken.

  5. Eagle eye says:

    They don’t intend to change so we’ll change them.

  6. Hmmmm says:

    Well I understand the issue of tendering but at least this time around we got a completed project and it looks like decent work.

  7. Concerned says:

    Here Tendering is a joke anyhow because everything will end up with cost-overruns. And it doesn’t matter which party you all vote for they are both the same!

  8. The same says:

    Face it … the UK cant manage its own country let alone ours . More of the same bs and NO ONE to hold the govt accountable

    • CW says:

      Yes, they definitely can’t manage your country. THEY LITERALLY SUPPRESSED A PRISON BREAK WITH ROYAL MARINES. THEY LITERALLY PURIFIED YOUR DRINKING WATER. Get a grip about the BVI and the UK and their relationship

  9. Message for the Governor. says:

    Please step in and stop this. The government needs to be removed or the UK need to step in. Who are SUN STATE builders – what is the name of the company owner?

  10. /////// says:

    Breach after breach, lie after lie, WHAT/WHO/HOW will this lunacy ever be controlled?

  11. Haha says:

    Nobody to blame but ourselves if you allow me to pick your mango everyday and never complain dont be surprised when I go with the whole tree.

  12. Lb says:

    Really BVI news? This is what you bring now? Given our climate now? We need to get things moving and some damn protocols need to be breached! No time for this BS and bureaucratic nonsense. Elections will come soon enough but let the people do their jobs and make things happen without this political nonsense. We need action now in this country.

    • HNIC says:

      @Lb – mehn sounds like Bvinews report mashed yuh corn dread! Either you feeding at the trough as well or you’re just suffering from the recent heat. Anywho; the electorate is asking for more accountability and while you may enjoy how he country has been managed to date – many do not share your sentiments. Nonetheless, elections are soon upon us all and the fire will get hotter and hotter. So if you can’t stand the heat…..go fishing son!

    • CW says:

      The BVI is incapable of governing itself regardless if it is your pet politics or theirs. Nothing gets done and regular people suffer. You think flipping a dirty coin over will give you a clean side, but heads or tails, ITS THE SAME DIRTY COIN.

    • @LB says:

      Your statement is irresponsible and strongly suggests that you may be one of the corrupt BVIislanders who wish for the corrupt mess to continue. I think the majority of our people are smarter and see people like you as destructive. your willingness to destroy our people and our county so that you can enjoy a few material comforts is sickening

  13. Hmmmm says:

    Who is Sun State Builders

  14. Sherlock says:

    Probably a BVI Corporatuon whose benificial owners are confidential. Lmao …..

  15. Make BVI Great Again says:

    Need to send Trump down. You might not like him, but he sure does get s**t done.

  16. Political Observer (PO) says:

    Government signed the PEFM but regularly skirts it, it seems. Is the VI, an OT, pushing the UK to the limit/to the brink that it may need to roll in and take over as it did in the TCI? Is the VI looking for a causes) to pursue independence? Is the VI cruising for an independence bruising?

    The MCW is a model of efficiency. 7 months have elapsed since the passage of 2107 hurricanes but not even batter boards have been put in place. Are local engineers so “LESS” that by now a PEB could not have been put in place. Now, hurricane season is being used as a crutch, an excuse. By the way, who is Sun State Builders? The Action Man seemed to be losing the Midas touch.

    • Quiet Storm says:

      “Is the VI cruising for an independence bruising?” PO, you got jokes. Anyone for independence raise your hand or click like. After the under performance with the storms, some cold water should be doused on independence; local government was MIA after the storm. Our two economic pillars are under heavy stress; our economic weaknesses are exposed, throwing cold water on any real independence talk. Strive for more autonomy.

  17. LCS says:

    Making decisions as we go along, without planning and vision is wrong. In the end it will prove inefficient and costly. It’s not their money so they don’t care.

  18. As a matter of fact says:

    This time Marky Mark is not to blamed. What say ye Board of Directors?

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