Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says his government will fund the project for which the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) had rescinded financing after declaring “misprocurement”.

The CDB 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.

Speaking on radio on Sunday, Gonsalves said that the contract will be awarded to Reliable Construction Ltd., the same firm that the project had been awarded to before the CDB cancelled its financing.

The Barbados-based CDB cancelled financing of the project after an investigation triggered by a complaint by Bally and Bally Investments, which was unsuccessful in its bid to secure the contract.

Gonsalves said:

“That work has to be done and it’s urgent work so Cabinet has taken a decision to have the attorney general, have the Ministry of Works submit a draft contract for the outstanding works to be done by the same Reliable Construction for the attorney general to review. Naturally, we will have to pay for that. That’s ok, I mean we have a lot of money with CDB and we are not worried about that,” Gonsalves said. 

Gonsalves said that residents of North Central Windward, which he represents in Parliament, and where the project is being executed, have called to find out if their property is going to be more exposed than before during this rainy season.

“So, as a result, the Director General ensured that the Ministry of Finance and Works have the matter brought to the Cabinet…” he said.

He said that there are several properties adjoining the rivers where the project was being executed.

“I cannot be irresponsible as a parliamentary representative of North Central Windward and as a prime minister responsible for national disaster management to say well we have to go over a long tendering process to do the other thing, and, in the meanwhile, operation successful, patient dead,” he said.  

The prime minister further said persons can sue the government if their property is damaged if there is any eventuality in the aftermath of the contractor having removed any original river defences as part of the contract.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

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”.

The prime minister said the existing contract between the CDB and Reliable Construction Ltd. has to come to an end because of the CDB’s misprocurement conclusion.

Last week, Member of Parliament for East Kingstown, Arnhim Eustace, a former senior CDB executive, said that bank’s decision to withdraw funding for the project is confirmation that Kingstown has broken the bank’s rules for the award of contracts.

“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.

5 replies on “Gov’t to fund project after CDB rescinds loan”

  1. Ralph how can Vincentians believe you when your government was exposed for corruption and dishonest practises in handling the project? How many more projects went through the same criminal scenario?
    There needs to be an investigation to see were things went wrong. The inexperience company selected can still put the people in danger. They are not qualify and you are not qualify to be in a position to spend Vincentians hard earn money.
    Why should Vincentians pay for your government corrupt behavior without a transparent and honest inquiry to see who are the culprits that allowed this to happen?
    I hope the opposition call for an inquiry into this corrupt deal. Ask supporters for some funds to start some serious inquiries into this and many more under-hand dealing by this government. Get people with serious investigative experience to dig into the behaviour of the corrupt government. Don’t expect folks to vote them out unless they can see corrupt, dishonest and cruel to people who don’t support this government.
    Friday get off your arse and call on supporters at home and abroad for some support to get rid of this illegal, corrupt and dishonest government.

  2. Ralph how can Vincentians believe you when your government was exposed for corruption and dishonest practises in handling the project? How many more projects went through the same criminal scenario?
    There needs to be an investigation to see were things went wrong. The inexperience company selected can still put the people in danger. They are not qualify and you are not qualify to be in a position to spend Vincentians hard earn money.
    Why should Vincentians pay for your government corrupt behavior without a transparent and honest inquiry to see who are the culprits that allowed this to happen?
    I hope the opposition call for an inquiry into this corrupt deal. Ask supporters for some funds to start some serious inquiries into this and many more under-hand dealing by this government. Get people with serious investigative experience to dig into the behaviour of the corrupt government. Don’t expect folks to vote them out unless they can see corrupt, dishonest and cruel to people who don’t support this government.
    Friday get off your arse and call on supporters at home and abroad for some support to get rid of this illegal, corrupt and dishonest government.

  3. Pulitzer Prize-winning author and distinguished astronomer Carl Sagan, writing in “The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark” wrote;

    “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

    Reliable Construction Ltd does not meet minimum experience required to carry out the required work! That is after all the semblance of the charge being put and is a damning indictment against that company and irresponsibility on the part of those who awarded the contract. yet our Prime Minister can say “We are not worried about that” when re-awarding the contractual works to that unfit company.

    Surely, that is truly a nasty disregard to the peoples of this country who demands better standards and minimum competence from any appointed contractor! Moreover, with we the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines having to foot the bill from our Treasury, may we ask, why such cavalier behaviour by our government?

    Theodore Roosevelt once wrote quote “A man who has never gone to school may steal a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.” What does that tell us? Why have we allowed such tardiness on the part of those who govern us?

    What we see in short, is that the PM’s utterances are a total disgrace to the office of Prime Minister. Moreover, this man in his arrogance has for long now, has demonstrated by his actions, his utter and total contempt, for the peoples of these small islands.

  4. Jolly Green says:

    If he wants this contractor to continue with the same contractor without an enquiry, let Gonsalves himself pay for it.

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