Letter to da Editor
Good morning Bahamas Press,
I haven’t written a letter to the editor for a while now because I have to admit, I am just mentally tired and have become apathetic concerning politics in this country. I have come to the conclusion that nothing will change unless there is a disaster looming. Our leaders are quite content to govern the country in cruise control.
This morning however, I picked up the Tribune and saw an article that pricked my interest. The caption says, “PM: ROADS PROJECT NOT $40M OVER BUDGET.” As I read the article, I was amazed at the verbal gymnastics and the level of deflection contained in Mr Ingraham’s comments.
As I read this article this morning, I began envisioning Papa’s nose growing like Pinocchio’s as he attempted to dispel the notion that his administration has poorly managed the road works. Prime Minister Nocchio’s ability to weave and dodge the central issue is exactly why so many Bahamians are so cynical and suspicious of our political leaders and the political process.
Now I will quote the exact words attributed to Papa-Nocchio in the article: “The truth is, that cost will run the NPRIP will be a substantial excess of $40 million…” Now wait, if you trying to convey the message that the project is not over budget, I don’t want you to use the words “substantial” and “excess” when referring to the cost. That is not a good start.
All I want to know is, is the Nassau Road Improvement Project (NRIP) in line with budgeted expectations, below expectations or has the cost exceeded expectations? The answer to that question only requires a yes or a no and the amount below or surpassed. But Papa-Nocchio, in trying to address the issue, failed epically. Rather than speak plainly and honestly about it, watch his attempt at finger pointing.
Read carefully. Papa-Nocchio says the excess $40 million in costs “…is made up of the increase in the price of all additional works for the Water and Sewerage Corporation and some works resulting from the prolongation of the contract works.”
They say the cover up is often worse than the crime. Did you envision Papa-Nocchio’s nose growing 2 inches and expand another 3 inches while saying what he just said? Did you see the verbal gymnastics he just performed right there? Did ya see it? Well muddos!
Papa-Nocchio has just put the blame of the cost overrun at the feet of Water and Sewerage. Yup, those dam civil servants can’t do nothing right. The road works is going to cost more because someone in Water and Sewerage dropped the ball.
Well Mr Prime Minister, if this is the case, as a tax paying citizen, I demand that you reveal the civil servant who made such an error that is about to cost me millions of dollars. I also demand that you fire those responsible for this costly error. But he wont do that Bahamas Press, and I will tell you why in a bit.
Papa-Nocchio’s rationalization raises more questions for me:
1) The Road works was conceptualized under his administration back in the late 1990’s. The plan was put on the shelf by the PLP when they took office in 2002. Upon retaking office in 2007, did Papa-Nocchio have the relevant government agencies review the project and make any adjustments necessary? If this did happen, then why hasn’t someone been fired for costing the tax payer tens of millions of dollars?
If this review didn’t happen, then Papa-Nocchio, the Cabinet Minister responsible for Water and Sewerage, the chairman and Permanent Secretary of the Water and Sewerage needs to step down as a critical component of project management was ignored!
2) Furthermore, at what point during the works did his administration realize that there were cost overruns associated with Water and Sewerage?
3) The original loan is an IDB loan. Your telling me that the IDB, in doing their own in house analysis of the project, missed Water and Sewerage huge $40 million error in estimation too? Really? Anybody here smell a dead, Bain Town rat?
If the original budget was underestimated by $40 million, your now talking a total project cost approaching at least $160 million. But the IDB doesn’t care. As the agreement clearly states that the government of the Bahamas would pay for any additional cost overruns. And seeing that the government cant pay for it, they either cut back on the project or go right back to the IDB to borrow the extra funds needed. Now you see how the country got downgraded? Financial decisions are being made with no regard to the consequences.
Papa-Nocchio is pointing fingers at a government agency so as too quell the stench of mismanagement emanating from his own administration. The Prime Minister is acting like the little kid who ate a piece of chocolate cake when he was told not too, and when he was caught, denied it, while the chocolate icing was all over his mouth. To blame civil servants for his poor decision making and poor project management under his watch is inexcusable. He isn’t taking any responsibility for the mess he created.
Now the later part of his statement is what had me laughing. Papa-Nocchio said some of the “excess” $40 million of cost refers to “…works resulting from the prolongation of the contract work.” Look at Papa-Nocchio trying to wax eloquent on me. “…The pro-lon-ga-tion…” Whenever you see Papa-Nocchio trying to use big words, you know he has something to hide.
But Papa-Nocchio is subtly admitting that the project is behind schedule and as a result of that, there are cost overruns. He is using Water and Sewerage as a cover to borrow monies to cover the cost overruns and to complete the road project. He has to do this politically as any attempt to scale back the project will be an embarrassment for his government! But the consequence is the country will be plunged deeper in debt. This is rank mismanagement of public funds and a clear attempt by the PM to distance himself from his own project.
He called the PLP duplicitous? Ladies and gentlemen, what Papa-Nocchio just said, is rank deception. Don’t call the other fella ugly if you “ogly.”
So Papa-Nocchio, by how much is the project over budget RIGHT NOW? Why not tell us now? Why do you have to reveal it in Parliament? Who are you going to blame in the House? You see why i hate politicians? This is a deliberate attempt to NOT be clear.
In closing, I want to point out one more thing. The rest of what Papa-Nocchio said is the textbook definition of deflection. He is quoted as saying, “…had the project been concluded when we first started it, before we got kicked out of office, the Bahamian people would have paid less than $60 million for the project, as opposed to $119 million…”
You see it Bahamas Press? Do you see the deflection? According to Papa-Nocchio, he is implying that had the PLP executed his project to the T, rather than cancel it, the project wouldn’t have cost as much. In other words, these excess costs and the error in the assessment by Water and Sewerage under his administration, is somehow because of the PLP, the party not in power? Does the governing party get any blame Mr Prime Minister?
Our leaders don’t take responsibilty for anything. It’s always the fault of the other guy! If he as PM exercised his right to stop, review and cancel projects, why criticized the PLP when they exercised the same right? He made a decision. Now deal with the consequences of it. He knew it would cost more when he started the NRIP back in 2008 and if Papa-Nocchio was really concerned about cost, he would have scaled back the project from then because he knew a recession was coming!
Lol, Papa-Nocchio say its the PLP’s fault the FNM’s project cost more. How long and wide you think that nose is now? Lol.