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VG classrooms may not be ready for September – Walwyn

Myron Walwyn. File photo

It is highly likely that Grade 12 students at Bregado Flax Educational Centre (BFEC) on Virgin Gorda will continue to be accommodated off campus when the new school year starts in September.

Minister of Education Myron Walwyn said construction of the classrooms to accommodate those students may not be finished on time.

“We hope to commence work very soon. In the event that we are not ready for September, we will continue to house the students at HLSCC (H Lavity Stoutt Community College) for an extended period as we work to ensure that everything is in place. We will have that capacity to accommodate the students at HLSCC Virgin Gorda campus,” Walwyn said in response to questions posed in the House of Assembly by Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie.

The minister further explained: “In the case of BFEC, the overall plans are to separate the primary and secondary school, and build a new primary school in a different location. Going forward, therefore, has to be slightly different from the approach that we took at the Elmore Stoutt High School. So, we are being very careful about planning, and throwing unnecessary money [away].”

The additional classrooms at BFEC should have been built in September 2016. But, up to now, the work has not started, and Grade 12 students are being accommodated at H Lavity Stoutt Community College.

Amount to be spent 

Walwyn, in response to more questions, disclosed that the tendering process was waived in relation to the BFEC works.

Moments before he made that disclosure, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith noted that the project at the Virgin Gorda-based school will be done in two phases.

“The budgeted cost of Phase I as it relates to BFEC includes the following:1 Steel frame building, [and] shipping cost for the steel frame building. To date, approval has been granted for the purchase of the steel frame building for BFEC at a cost of $259,348.56. Additionally, the portion of the $20,000 shipping cost allocated to the steel frame for BFEC is $6,666.66.”

“The erection of the building for BFEC, including equipment and furnishings, is slated to be completed as part of Phase II. The total cost of completion of Phase II for BFEC is estimated at $382,553.35,” Premier Smith further said in response to questions asked by the Opposition leader.

The premier stated that approval was granted on June 20 for the direct purchase of the steel frame from Isla Trading Corp, to house the classrooms for both BFEC and the Tortola-based Elmore Stoutt High School.

“As stated before, the erection of the building for BFEC, including equipment and furnishings, is slated to be completed as part of Phase II. Therefore, no contracts have been processed for the construction of the building at the BFEC (Secondary Division),” added Premier Smith, who said funds have been budgeted for the project.

He also tried to explain why no tendering was involved in relation to acquisition of the steel frame.

“The Public Finance Management Regulations set out in paragraph 170(2) that ‘Goods and services shall be procured by tender where the value of the goods or services exceeds $100,000, unless the Cabinet otherwise directs,” the premier continued.

“While it is not the standard practice of Cabinet to waive the tender process for the procurement of goods or services, based on the speed at which the project in this case had to be delivered, the Cabinet found it necessary to waive the tender process. Madam Speaker, you would note that provision is made for this in the Public Finance Management Act,” added the premier.

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