Deputy Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley has hit out at claims that the government overspent by more than $300,000 on a contract for air-conditioning works for the multi-purpose sports complex in Road Town.
The claim made by Opposition Leader Marlon Penn suggested that a contractor had put in a bid that was $300,000 less than the bidder who won the project with a $786,000 proposal. But Penn said the lower bidder was essentially overlooked because of a procedural error in his bid.
Dr Wheatley rubbished those claims, calling the statement by the Opposition Leader ‘ridiculous’.
“It gives the impression that somehow or the other, we the government gave the contract to the contractor,” Dr Wheatley said.
The Deputy Premier disputed this and said the contract was executed in a transparent manner through the Central Tenders Board.
“It was a completely transparent tender process and we had nothing to do with it, in fact, when it came to Cabinet, we didn’t even have a choice to make, because it was only one person there because the other contractor was disqualified,” Dr Wheatley added.
He said he never mentioned any details of why the contractor may have been disqualified and noted the tender board made their own recommendation and Cabinet made a decision in line with this recommendation.
The Deputy Premier also acknowledged that there may have been two different prices quoted for the project, but said one price was for refurbishing the system while another was for replacing the system.
He said if someone was refurbishing a system, they could do so for a lower price.
The Deputy Premier further said that it was not for legislators to turn one contractor against another, or even to suggest that one contractor is of lesser quality.
He said it was also unfair for persons to cast aspersions on the character of the Central Tenders Board since it comprised persons who take their job seriously as it pertains to following procurement rules.
“Nothing they did was out of line with the procurement rules that we have, the financial management regulations and law. They do what they have to and they are serious about it,” he stated.
The contract was awarded in December and is expected to take six months to complete.
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