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Walwyn denies having cost overrun talks as ESHS wall was being built

Walwyn

Former Education Minister, Myron Walwyn, has categorically denied ever having any discussions about potential cost increases surrounding the Elmore Stoutt High School wall when it was being constructed.

Walwyn, who served within the previously governing National Democratic Party administration, has been accused of allowing the project — initially budgeted at $828,000 — to skyrocket to well over one million dollars.

According to Walwyn, it was the Cabinet who opted to divide the project into several petty contracts, work orders, and purchase orders. But while giving evidence before the Commission of Inquiry (COI) days earlier, Assistant Secretary within the ministry, Lorna Stevens, said Walwyn was advised about the threat of a cost overrun if the project was divided into small contracts.

She had further said that this discussion was had with Walwyn before the cost estimates for the overall project was sent to Cabinet for approval. But during his appearance before the COI yesterday, September 20, Walwyn said he never received any such advice.

“I am saying to you categorically, Commissioner; that was not discussed with me. And if it was discussed with me, that [Cabinet] paper would not have been [estimated] at [$828,000],” Walwyn told the COI.

He continued: “If it was discussed with the Permanent Secretary, who I know and hold in very high regard, she would not have allowed that paper to go forward fully well knowing that it would have cost that much. So, Miss Stevens would have to speak about who she spoke to with this, but there was no conversation with me. And I am saying to you categorically that it did not happen.”

I didn’t know

Walwyn further told the COI he did not appreciate at the time that splitting the wall contract among various contractors would have escalated the costs beyond the budgeted amount. He said he believed the cost would have remained the same whether one person did the work or if multiple persons did it.

“And I’ll even go further, Cabinet itself did not appreciate that that would happen either because the problem got further compounded by Cabinet. Because then, the Cabinet decided now to do it by petty contracts and work orders. So, you’ve further broken it down,” the former Minister argued.

Walwyn said he believes the kind of technical advice needed to deal with certain issues related to the project was not present within the government’s system at the time. He said this is especially so since the project was overseen by two separate ministries — the Education Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

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25 Comments

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  1. 4 Lorna Stevens says:

    Lorna, we believe you. M—-, dissapointed that you have sunk to the same depths as the VIP

    Like 23
    Dislike 5
    • BVI News says:

      Stop choosing which comments you desire to post. These are views of the people. Print ALL comments whether you agree or not.

      Like 14
    • Einstein says:

      Why wasn’t the $1m spent on improving the curriculum or paying the teachers more?
      Until we improve our children’s education we will be left behind.

  2. Duh says:

    Of course he denied it. Accountability is an unknown and unheard of concepts in these parts unless people from elsewhere can be blamed, rightly or wrongly.

    And, how naîve to think that if he split the project that costs would not go up. Could he not have asked his contractor pals?

    Like 28
    Dislike 3
    • Agreed says:

      As the commissioner said….. school boy error.

      He was l***g and tried to hide behind great swelling words of a learned lawyer.

      I believe the 2 public officers who gave their evidence on the issue.

      Like 6
      Dislike 1
  3. willox says:

    I warned you all about him and his h*** truths.

    Like 15
    Dislike 11
  4. just like andrew says:

    its never his fault

    Like 20
    Dislike 4
  5. Common Sense says:

    Any thinking person would hire one contractor for a project like this, be it a house, dock, wall – whatever. No one would think they would get a better, less expensive job by splitting it up. It strains credulity.

    Like 26
    Dislike 1
  6. heckler says:

    Ayo aint see this dude is wearing a purple tie? He is celebrating alzheimer’s week….LOL

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
  7. MUSA says:

    GREAT JOB

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  8. Jack says:

    Thank god we did not make him premier to many l—

    Like 19
    Dislike 10
  9. Thoughts... says:

    It is correct to assume that no one would hire contractors like this to build a house except the very government that we the people milk for our daily bread. It is obvious that this tactic was to allow multiple contractors access to ‘a job.’ It was an opportunity to feed 20 instead of 1 and allow funds to circulate in the local economy. Was it right and the best use of taxpayers’ money, no, but it allowed multiple contractors and laborers access to gainful employment for a period.

    Like 24
    Dislike 4
    • Strange says:

      That’s logical indeed…they just have to admit that what was done irrespective to the public perception of corruption in the project and cost overruns.

      However, it should have been better structured to ensure greater value for money and restricted to no more than a three phase project or maximum 3 contractors/contracts.

      It appears now that everything is a cabinet decision, therefore no individual responsibility

      Like 10
      Dislike 2
      • Common Sense says:

        This is where you err.

        First, it’s the public purse, so the only objective should be to get value for money. That is why contracts are bid out. The winner is supposed to be someone with a decent track record, adequate finances and the means to complete the project.

        Second, no one man “eats”. The contractor may hire subcontractors such as engineers, excavators, electricians, etc. For sure he will have workers. So many people will “eat”. But one guy is ultimately responsible and accountable.

        As it happened, no one was responsible and allegedly lots of people “ate”, but did nothing! And this is why the infrastructure in the BVI is in such lamentable shape.

        Like 12
  10. well sah says:

    This guy is just like andrew

    Like 13
    Dislike 8
  11. COI says:

    The COI is not about truth. It is about proving their narrative. It is slavery all over again.

    Like 3
    Dislike 23
  12. My take says:

    I am not a Fahie nor Myron fan. I am about the B.V.I. This is why I say that I question this COI and its motive. It is not about good governance and fairness. Gus was charged with getting the BVI to be fully ruled by the UK BUT he failed. The COI is his last attempt to try to look good at our expense. This is simply colonialism.

    Like 7
    Dislike 28
  13. Jul E Anny says:

    I see a criminal trial on the horizon. Those UK boys seem locked and loaded and ready to do business.

    Like 15
    Dislike 5
  14. Biggy says:

    Myron held his own and has the qualities of a real leader. If we had him as Premier we would not be in this mess and that is a fact. We voted emotions and now we are SAD, but I wonder if we will learn from it? I really doubt it but in the meantime enjoy the bumpy ride.

    Like 13
    Dislike 10
  15. Anonymous says:

    The quicker y’all figure out that there are no heroes in BVI politics the better off we will be. Stop praising and worshipping these men. These guys follow their leaders blindly even when they know it’s a bad deal. I had hope in Marlon and Mitch as I knew these guys to be cool and thought they would be fighters of the people. Boy was I proven wrong these guys folded like cheap paper towel in water. Myron did what he thought was best for the people that were depending on him to “get a eat “ This was the old VIP way of making sure everybody eat. Was it a bad thing? Maybe not but depends on if you prefer 1 man eat and save money or feed many families but lose a bit more from the public purse.

  16. Tongue Fu says:

    What many fail to mention is the timing of the project which was around Election time and so Walwyn’s motive was not just about spreading the bread around so everyone could get a piece. In any case the idea of spreading the bread around when it is likely to cost the taxpayers more is not a responsible one. Hire one contractor and he will have his people who he will subcontract allowing for a less expensive and a quality project.

  17. @ EINSTEIN says:

    yes Mr know all , I think the guy was the protection of the school children and safeguarding the premises / but looks like he got played ( now let the COI do its work / NOW in the midst of a crisis the ESTEEMED flexing off TAXPAYERS $$$$ without care on VANTERPOOL etc / the BOSS flexing off TAXPAYERS $$$$ on BARGES and beating his
    chest and saying ( I RUN THINGS ) after refusing the UK free help to PROTECT the border NOW FLEX OFF YOUR TRAP ON THOSE ( in the meantime please let the ( COI ) do its work thank you

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  18. What a ting says:

    All Govermnent Ministers have been leaving projects close to elections for vote not only in the BVI but all democratic countries . We pull down the hammer when it is convenient for us . The new leader has brought us to where we are Shame on conventional govt

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