Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
Nassau Bahamas: Hubert Ingraham must be the biggest traitor any citizen this country have ever seen . When Ingraham took office last year he stopped the extended Milo Butler Highway project and delayed its completion.
But today, with the police pop band present, he told guests as he opened the new corridor BUILT BY BAHAMIAN CONTRACTORS, that he will now proceed with a $120 million road project to be built by a company out of Argentina. But BAHAMIANS built the road he was opening today. WHERE IS THE WUTLESS OPPOSITION?
Bahamas Press has been reliably informed that Jose Cartellone of Argentina, the man who Ingraham awarded the contract to, is also the same contractor who is on Jamaica’s BLACK LIST contractors.
According to a report tabled in the Jamaican parliament in 2005 by the Contractors General, 70 per cent of the 37 projects were scheduled to be completed by December 2003, but less than 10 per cent were completed by that time. This, the Contractor General said, was partially due to fluctuations in labour and material costs, changes in the scope of work and cost overruns.
The north coast project, which runs from Negril to Montego Bay, Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, and Ocho Rios to Port Antonio, was originally contracted at US$60 million ($3.6 billion Jamaican dollars).
The project, which should have been completed in June last year, is halfway completed with US$26 million ($1.5 billion) already spent. Work on Phase Two of the highway project, from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios, recently resumed following months of delay due to financial problems experienced by the Argentinian contractor José Cartellone Construcciones Civles.
When the Jamaican Contractor General’s report was being compiled, 24 months of the 30-month project had passed.
“We concluded from our observation that poor management and inadequate financing account for many of the delays,” the report said. “Some of the overruns can also be attributed to poor planning and failure to adhere to strict contract administrative procedures.”
Mainwhile then Prime Minister P.J. Patterson announced that Cabinet awarded a $5.6 billion contract to Denmark construction firm E. Phils & Sons to complete Segment Three (Ocho Rios to Port Antonio) of the highway project.
Most of the money is being provided through a grant from the European Union, while the Jamaican Government will provide the balance.
The Contractor General also made reference to the Naggo Head Infomatics Centre in Portmore, a project that was awarded to Tank-Weld Limited. The $175 million project began in July 2002 and was slated to finish in April 2003. Up to the time of the report, the project was 88 per cent completed and had so far cost $156 million.
Meanwhile, the Contractor General said there was greater adherence to guidelines for procuring work than for goods and services.
Bahamas Press reminds the reading public that this is not the first time Hubert Ingraham awarded a MAJOR road contract to a foreign contractor with a BAD BUSINESS RECORD. The same happened during INGRAHAM’S first term in office, when the contract to commence work on road projects was signed with Associated Asphalt on April 5, 2001, to design and build all works contained in the contract for the sum of $52.2 million.
The INGRAHAM Free National Movement government received approval from Parliament in October 2002 to enter into an agreement with the IDB for an approved loan of $46.2 million for the project. The government also provided counterpart funding in the amount of $19.8 million for a total of $66 million.
However, Harrold Road was removed from the project, and is now being repaired by two Bahamian companies, Bethell’s Trucking and Heavy Equipment and Bahamas Hot Mix. Bethell’s Trucking will carry out the concrete and earth works, while Bahamas Hot Mix will have the responsibility for the asphalt components (THE PROJECT OPENED TODAY!).
Associated Asphalt a European based company went “belly up”, BANKRUPT with the initial project.
Now with all the fan fair of the new road opening today, and with the knowledge that this project’s completion, every Bahamian should now ask themselves one question, WHY DOES HUBERT INGRAHAM WANTS TO CARRY US THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY DOWN THAT ROAD AGAIN?