MP for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace. (iWN file photo)

An opposition lawmaker says the recent decision of the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) to withdraw funding for a project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is confirmation that Kingstown has broken the bank’s rules for the award of contracts.

“That is, you violated the rules that apply to the contract,” Arnhim Eustace, a former senior executive of the CDB said in exploring what it means when the bank declares misprocurement.

The bank has ordered the Government of SVG to repay all monies drawn down in relation to the “Yarabaqua River Defence” project, which was awarded to Reliable Construction Ltd., whose bid was $1,421,576.

The CDB’s decision came after an investigation triggered by a letter of objection from Bally and Bally Investments Ltd., one of the firms which had tendered for the contract.

Managing Director of Bally and Bally Investments Ltd., Cameron Balcombe, complained that Reliable Construction Ltd., did not meet minimum experience requirements in the key activities of gabion wall construction, reinforced concrete construction, and river training.

“Therefore, there has either been a false declaration made in their forms or unlawful and unfair intervention by someone of influence on their behalf,” he said in his letter.

Balcombe said it “is utterly unfair” that contractors spend time and resources to bid for these contracts “only to be unfairly treated”.

Balcombe was, in 2005, a candidate for the opposition New Democratic Party, under Eustace’s leadership but has stated publicly, including on a radio programme supportive of the Unity Labour Party government, that he is no longer interested in politics and is concentrating on his business.

Speaking on his weekly radio programme on NICE Radio on Tuesday, Eustace, who is also Member of Parliament for East Kingstown, said he spoke to a recently retired treasurer of the bank.

 “… he, himself, could not remember a case like that, where a country was forced to pay back a loan,” Eustace said.

He said he could not recall such a case in his own 16-year stint at the CDB.

“I tell you, I can’t remember a case like this. I was at CDB from 1977 to 1993,” Eustace told listeners.

“I am ashamed, I’m telling you as somebody who worked there and had a say in those guidelines.

“I am ashamed of what has happened, that here in St. Vincent, the CDB, who had given billions of dollars in loans will find us wanting, violating the rules, playing politics at the expense of the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Now, the people have to pay back the money,” said Eustace, who is a former prime minister, minister of finance, and opposition leader.

“You know what that does to our reputation as a country, what it does to the government, the image it put out there about St. Vincent and the Grenadines?”

Eustace noted that the board of directors of the CDB is composed of persons from a number of countries, including England, Germany, France, Venezuela, and Columbia.

“They come there to the meetings and they help to approve the projects.

“So when that happens, it is several countries that know what wutlissness (worthlessness) we did. It does not stand well for us. It sends an image of corruption and the government had to take the responsibility,” Eustace said.

He noted that the contractors and consultants for the project have to be selected by the Tenders Board in Kingstown, which has to be familiar with CDB rules.

Commenting on Balcombe’s letter which triggered the investigation that led to the withdrawal of the funds, Eustace said:

“Let us understand the situation closely, you know. That same letter and the consultant who wrote that letter, he was protesting and saying that they were breaking CDB rules and CDB turned around and agreed with him and said the people who were doing the work didn’t know what they were doing and asked back for their money. You see, you have to be clean….

“Party politics. You give the job to your friend, not to the consultant who put in the best bid. And that’s what caused all this…

“It is very embarrassing. I tell you, as a former director of Projects [at the CDB], I am so upset to see this happening,” he said.

“It is dangerous when you get that kind of reputation from the bank,” Eustace added.

19 replies on “Eustace blasts acts leading to CDB rescinding funds”

  1. Rawlston Pompey says:

    LENDING CONDITIONALITIES v CRONYISM

    If those in governance showed callous disregard for ‘…Lending Conditionalities,’ those in banking and lending money for national developmental projects, guided by set conditionalities, most certainly would know what is ‘…Cronyism.’

  2. Thanks Cameron for speaking out even though you put your company at risk of being victimise for future bids but thats the sacrifice you took and it takes a lot of “balls” ..good luck going foward.

    1. Jolly Green says:

      Dear Quow, I doubt Cameron will ever get government work in SVG again whilst the current regime is in power.

      That’s why few would do what he did, all the rest hope for some crumbs from time to time and keep their mouths shut.

    1. James, as bad a socialism is, the worst part of it is the financial side. A totally unsustainable economic system. Our Prime Minister very much follows John Maynard Keynes, a socialist and one of the worst economists of the later century, stated that if your country gets into trouble from borrowing too much money, it is because you did not bowwow enough.
      But as terrible as that system is, it is the political cronyism that caused this exposure of corruption. Too bad we do not have this in the court system where we have recently witnessed a proven politically biased judge is still allowed to preside over cases involving politics to the point where murder is even excused after being perpetrated by a supporter of his chosen party!
      This is the truth and the entire country sees the cronyism happen right before our eyes!

      1. Jolly Green says:

        Remember to be an associate of the dynasty everyone in a prominent position has to do as they are ordered to do.

  3. Well bucket goes to the well and one day the bottom is going to fall out. It’s a case of deja vu.

  4. Agustus Carr says:

    Politics in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines must change. Our politics is still primitive and very divisive. It appears that you cannot get a contract unless you support, which ever party is in power. Why cant we award these contracts on an equitable and transparent basis? We appear to be the most skillful country in the Region when it comes to negotiating and accessing international funding but some of these funds are not channel in a very open and transparent way.

    Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is in dire need of political reform. We must establish an open registry of party contributions, stop distributing gifts for votes and those types of things. We must also have an open and transparent process of awarding contracts as well.

    We have a very highly educated society with the majority being honest and descent people, therefore our dealings must reflect this. We must establish an Integrity Commission as a matter of priority supported by an open and transparent process of Governance.

    Finally, our Prime Minister always speak in tongues. He never reveal the names of investors or funding partners. I understand some investors may not want their identity to be reveal during the preliminary stages of negotiations but they are to understand their identity will be revealed at some stage. He is accountable to the people and must therefore operate in a fair and transparent way.

    We cannot continue to do business like this if we are ascribing to sit on international bodies. We cannot be principled in one way and unprincipled in other ways. We must be a principled country and principled people at all times. This is what will set us apart from other nations in the world.

    One day I will like to hear this statement, “St. Vincent and the Grenadines is a very small country in the global arena but very principled in it dealings. Despite it’s size it is recognize for its honesty, political transparency and good governance.”

    1. True Augustus but this also happens elsewhere. Look at Hillary Clinton and the “pay for play” policy she was running. In that she demanded that if any party wants to be recognized or considered by the State Department under her charge, they first have to make an appropriate donation to the Clinton Foundation that many think is a charity which it was not, unless you agree that the lion’s share goes to the Clinton’s.

    2. Jolly Green says:

      People celebrated when SVG got awarded the UN seat at the security council. Then a matter like this happens those right wing backers realize their mistake, the communists and socialists find it all quite
      normal.

  5. Mr Carr politics in St Vincent is the great devide, it splits the country almost
    in half. It is the red v the yellow and family v family . Indeed politics defines even the air we breathe in St Vincent. It is a fact of life and its not going to change because we are susceptible to bribery.

  6. Ok I am confuse, what type of “big brother, overbearing oversight” does the CBD attached to its loans. Did they lend the money to the government based on its ability to repay the loan or some other condition? I don’t know the terms of the loan but I find it strange and offensive that this lending institutions will have this much power over a local process. The government must be in some serious financially trouble to allow a “bank” this much power over its procurement process. Just curious can anyone tell me what is government credit ratings?
    Our local procurement process is broken one can only conclude from this process.
    I find it ridiculous that a local business would have no other recourse but to go to the lending bank to challenge the government process of selecting a contract for a job. I also find it interesting and disappointing that the bank actually find justifiable reasons to withhold funding. Sometimes is wrong.

  7. Sydney King says:

    Papa Guns ….the Economic Rapist of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. …..let us make sure he can’t escape like Papa Doc of Haiti. …..he and his conspirators must be locked up for corruption. ….

    1. Jolly Green says:

      The problem is Sydney the family dynasty has a young member waiting to take over the plantation when the current owner steps down. So everyone running the family estate will just switch allegiance to the boy and daddy is safe, no one can touch him.

      They consider if they own it, whatever they help themselves to is theirs anyway.

  8. William Harry says:

    I feel very badly about this development. I would simply say those who took part in such activity, should do the honourable thing and take the walk and avoid the further unpleasantness of being asked to go. Our little nation on the world stage can’t sing that tune which gives any musician great difficulty to play.

    1. Jolly Green says:

      Remember William the fish rots from the head down, so whatever happens at the head will eventually affect the tail.

      In any other country by now the police would be investigating what appears to be a crime, perhaps its not. But would the police ever investigate such a matter? Of course not if they want to keep their jobs. They would only investigate if instructed to by the Prime Minister. if not, nothing will happen.

  9. It all starts with corrupt practices to get elected. Giving away stolen government building materials makes not just the givers but the receivers into criminals. From corrupt elections blossom all the other corruption because those elected think they can get away with anything.

  10. Jolly Green who is to be blamed for the electorate accepting bribes for his/her vote? Don’t blame the dynasty, blame the electorate who is low on consciousness.

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