DPM Philip ‘Brave’ Davis slams Auditor General Report in Parliament

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DPM Philip Brave Davis
DPM Philip Brave Davis

NASSAU, The Bahamas – A Technical Report commissioned by the Ministry of Works and Urban Development and based on the sampling of 80 homes extracted from Phase I of the Urban Renewal Small Home Repairs Programme has determined that 94.2 per cent of all repair works were completed when set against the intended Scope of Works, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works and Urban Development, the Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis told Parliament Wednesday, July 22.

Mr. Davis said the Report further indicated that in many of the cases, contractors actually went beyond the Scope of Works to effect repairs to those homes and additionally, that the overall workmanship level was classified as good.

The Deputy Prime Minister said the Report revealed that value was achieved for money spent on the Small Home Repairs Programme.

The findings contained in the Technical Report related to: workmanship quality, value of works completed, and whether the existing home became sufficiently habitable as a result of the works.

Addressing Parliament Wednesday to provide an overall assessment of the Urban Renewal Programme, 2.0, Mr. Davis said the Technical Report was commissioned following a finding by the Auditor General (whose office examined homes repaired during the period November, 2013, to September, 2014) that it was “difficult to determine whether value for money was achieved.”

Officials at the Auditor General’s Department selected 75 of 312 homes for audit. Mr. Davis said at its conclusion, the Auditor General suggested that $171,058.80 was expended in twelve instances on homes where little or no work was done and that homeowners were dissatisfied with the repairs. The Report, Mr. Davis said, further suggested that three of those homes were abandoned.

“In light of this, the auditors stated that ‘it was difficult to determine whether value for money was achieved.’ This comment troubled me [and] in the discharge of my duty with respect to the Urban Renewal Programme, I felt obliged to have his commentary investigated further to determine the extent to which value was secured for money spent.”

Deputy Prime Minister Davis said because the Auditor General’s Report was compiled by accountants, he thought it prudent to have the statement tested, not by accountants, but rather by experts in the field of construction.

As a result, Island Dimensions and Development Co. Ltd. (IDDC) and J.D. Chisholm and Associates were commissioned “to conduct an independent report to verify the quality of repair works that were completed under the Urban Renewal Small House Repairs Programme and determine whether value for money was achieved and to make recommendations to improve inefficiencies for further consideration.”

Mr. Davis said the consultancy (IDDC, a Bahamian company owned by Dr. Anthony Farrington and J.D. Chisholm and Associates of which Mr. Javonne Chisholm is President) brought together sufficient expertise to provide professional costing for works completed to industry standards, valuations of contractors’ works and secure advice on limiting of project risks in the fields of civil, structural and environmental engineering; project management; project risk management; quantity surveying, construction management, quality control and valuation of contractors’ work.

The sample of 80 homes was extracted from Phase I and included the 12 houses previously cited as incomplete in the Auditor General’s Report. The sampling considered percentages per constituency, congruent with the actual distribution of repaired homes. This was to ensure that the integrity of the results could be successfully tested.

“Care was also taken to ensure that works from multiple contractors were evaluated from each constituency,” Mr. Davis said.

The Deputy Prime Minister said it was noted that the scopes did not restore the homes to full functionality.

“This was precluded by funds allocated for each home repair and the fact that Urban Renewal’s purpose is to tackle the most urgent requirements. The Technical report made recommendations to improve outcomes. These will be considered and implemented if they do not impede the work of the Commission,” Mr. Davis added.

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