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COI: Fahie gov’t split 60% of all major contracts into smaller ones

The Ralph T. O’Neal Administration Complex where the main government offices are located.

Head of the Commission of Inquiry, Sir Gary Hickinbottom has disclosed findings that up to 60 percent of all major government contracts have been split into smaller contracts under the present administration. 

With contract splitting, the tender process is usually waived by Cabinet and multiple contractors are selected to execute a project. 

Addressing the subject when Premier Andrew Fahie appeared to give evidence before him yesterday, Sir Gary said: “It’s very, very high and given that a waiver can only be in rare and exceptional circumstances, that’s at least curious and unexplained.”

The Commissioner further said he was aware of government’s current procurement regime and questioned the level of confidence residents can have in any regime not being bypassed by the government. 

‘Contract splitting’ must be seen in context, says Premier

Responding to the questions, Premier Fahie said the concept of ‘contract splitting’ should be viewed in the context of cultural nuances that exist in the BVI. 

And while making reference to the construction being done at the Elmore Stoutt High School, Premier Fahie said his administration made a very ‘calculated but necessary’ decision to waive the tender process at that time. 

He added that this was not done willy-nilly. 

Premier Fahie told the COI that his government took contractors who were recognised and approved by the Caribbean Development Bank and placed them to work on the project to speed up the job. But he said this was looked at unfavourably by the previous governor. 

He said the move should not have been seen in isolation given the context that it entailed. The leader of government’s business said this context was that students had been stranded at a mould-infested commercial building for years.

Systems in place but definitions need to be revisited

The Premier argued that besides having the systems in place for accountability, some definitions that were attached to governments procurement process needed to be revisited. 

“So, you have a terminology of a contract splitting that you were being judged by but legally that doesn’t exist,” he stated.

“Some of the terminologies that are being used cannot hold the test of time in a court,” the Premier said. “I’ve heard about contract splitting and people believe in this terminology. You cannot split a contract, you can only split the project.”

He said there cannot be policies and laws that do not allow for accountability, but at the same time, these policies cannot be divorced from the people. Otherwise, small contractors would essentially be left behind.

“If you do that, you would wipe out a whole sector of your young contractors coming up, and only those who have money to tender will be able to tender,” the Premier said.

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29 Comments

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  1. BS! says:

    “Some of the terminologies that are being used cannot hold the test of time in a court,” Well hey, hey, hey, I guess we will soon see if that is true.

    Like 21
    Dislike 1
  2. Reality Check says:

    If memory serves, contract splitting and waivers are what he complained about with the high school wall.
    Wat side de mouth him speak??

    Like 48
    Dislike 1
  3. COI says:

    I heard Andrew making accusations about this with the ESHS wall. Isn’t this what he was running to previous governors about? Now look at this. My brief synopsis is that Andrew was hungry for power and made the NDP government look to us like the worse thing. He did a good job at it. But now he is doing the same things he claimed were wrong. The things were not wrong, he just wanted to be the one doing them. Plain and simple. Power hungry. Take what you get now.

    Like 49
    Dislike 3
    • ? says:

      It was wrong then and wrong now.

      Like 14
    • J says:

      For me, the main issue wasn’t the splitting of the contracts but the escalation of the cost. We have to be careful with the way that money is spent and the ESHS wall is a perfect example of wastage of meager resources. Additionally, waving the tender process leads to hand picking of cronies. This often results in corrupt practices and disenfranchisement. This is and has been a problem in the BVI for quite a while (and both the VIP and NDP are guilty of the practice). It’s time fir change!

      Like 14
  4. The Truth says:

    That’s how the small man eats. WE ARE NOT THE UK.

    Like 4
    Dislike 29
  5. Snifn says:

    More contractors, more kick backs to fat man$$$$$

    Like 38
    Dislike 1
  6. 1EYE says:

    That is how small communities function. If Tom gets all the contracts the Bill & Jack & the other ppl will riot so they’ve got to be broken down sometimes to where everyone gets a slice. This happens in the USA also.

    Like 5
    Dislike 21
  7. What a strumo says:

    He was on Myron for splitting contracts … He complained to the Governor… He solicit support from COI and Now the same thing he cried FOUL over he is now enacting …. How can a leader with such qualities be trusted ….So happy for the COI exposure

    Like 30
  8. Marcus says:

    Is contract splitting wrong? I can’t say that it is. What is wrong is if its being done simply to give a supporter a contract or to ensure kickbacks are paid. Look at contract splitting in this way. Lets say the government needs all the guard rails from East End to West End painted in yellow and CDD Construction Company submits a bid for $100,000.00 but the Government decided to break the contract up in several pieces and give 10 young men a contract each valued at 10k. Its might be unusual but this does not mean its criminal.

    Like 6
    Dislike 4
    • Gucci says:

      It’s wrong when all 10 guys are your supporters, two of them are sleeping with your husband, one of them fixes the minister’s roof and the real value is not 100k but 80k and someone in government gets a new Jeep.

      Like 24
      Dislike 1
  9. Mental case says:

    I have said time and again that something is wrong with our Premier. He accused the previous government of doing these things and turn around and do more than they did. This man caused this COI but turn around and complain when they are looking into his government. Then he speaks of Jesus and the Bible every time he talks. This is a normal Perron.

    Like 29
    Dislike 1
  10. heckler says:

    Fahie complained about contract splitting just a few months before he became premier. Boy I wish i could’ve called him a croak

    Like 16
  11. Clarity says:

    There is no such thing as a CDB approved contractor.

    Like 3
    Dislike 2
    • Anonymous says:

      BS, most of our contractors cant even apply to the CDB that’s why Crab keeps getting all. There is a criteria that has to be met so there is a such thing as a CDB approved contractor.

  12. Common sense says:

    This is definitely NOT how it’s done in the real world. Most civilized governments will award a single contract to one qualifying contractor secured by a third party qualifying construction Bid Bond which converts to a performance bond upon the signing of the contract. The winning bidder will then issue Sub Contracts to numerous qualifying sub contractors m, some of which will also be supported by Bid / Performance bonds in favor of the General contractor. Many sub contractors will be employed without a performance bond, with preference given to withholding of cash placed in a deferment account until completion of the contract by the sub contractor. Any other methodology opens up the risk of fraudulent behavior which is why we have the COI in the first place.

    Like 22
    • I'm glad someone said it says:

      Yes, and the money gets spread around. To tailor even further convents can be in the contract for local participation metrics or whatever else is trying to be achieved.

  13. Kwame says:

    And where’s Claude? Quiet and nervous. Did we ever find out what his contract is really for ????

    Like 18
  14. Lol says:

    Finance and procurement will be the first under the gun

  15. @ YOU says:

    ARE AFRAID OF THE TRUTH ,SO YOU HIDING MY COMMENTS AGAIN 🤣 BUT THAT WON’T NEGATE THE FACT AND YOU GOT THE MESSAGE / I HOPE THE(COI) FIND YOUR TRAIL AND EXPOSE YOUR TAIL

  16. @ MENTAL CASE says:

    am very sorry but he knows exactly what he is doing / you forget he is e being schooled the holy consultant CSC and advised by the greatest esteemed one 😄 so this is how these imposters ROLL

    • what we need says:

      Independent thinkers would knock out all these expensive, shady, thiefing consultants. The people were warned, but the white envelopes and promises of being fed from the nipple for four years always sways voters in the BVI. Funny how some people never get offered those envelopes and breast milk. Why? Because it is known that their votes are not for sale. Unfortunately, people of the BVI, you get what you voted for. The majority are for sale. Sensible men and women who were independent all their lives let politicians and their messengers preach deadly poison in their ears. “I will take care of you, if you put me in.” Meaning take care of you on a personal level, then what happens? The politicians are so busy taking care of individual cronies that there is no time for country. The education system suffers, along with everything else. Sick, I tell you. The system is sick. We need to all put country before self. If the country does well, everyone, especially our children, will do well. Think before you accept a bribe for your votes. We are now suffering terribly for it.

      Like 10

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