Cameron Balcombe, and his wife, Ronnia Durham-Balcombe, of Bally & Bally Investments Ltd. (Photo: Facebook)

The construction firm that triggered a Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) review that led to the rescinding of financing for a government project in St. Vincent and the Grenadines say they fail to see how the award of the contract was “not corruption”.

“I cannot see how this is not corruption,” Cameron “Dinky” Balcombe, managing director of Bally and Bally Investments Ltd. said.

“You can sugar coat it, you can icing it however you want but I cannot see how this is not corruption,” he said Tuesday on Jerry S. George’s Facebook Live show, “Early in the Morning”. 

After a review, the Barbados-based CDB rescinded financing for river training works at Yarabaqua and ordered the government to repay the EC$142,000 that had been disbursed to Reliable Construction Services Ltd. 

The Tenders Board had awarded the contract to Reliable Construction, which tendered a bid of EC$1,421,567 for the project.

There were seven tenderers, with bids ranging from EC$1.31 million to EC$2.17 million.

Bally and Bally whose bid was EC$1.47 million complained to the CDB that Reliable Construction 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 a letter, adding that it “is utterly unfair” that contractors spend time and resources to bid for these contracts “only to be unfairly treated”.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said on radio on Sunday that his government will finance the project and Cabinet has decided to award that contract to Reliable Construction.

But Balcombe’s wife and business partner, Ronnia Durham-Balcombe, a lawyer, speaking on the same Facebook Live programme, said there is a case in Barbados that holds that cabinet should not make such a selection because “they lack the qualification, they lack the expertise and it is sort of a corrupt practice for the cabinet to choose whom they would want to do these projects”.

Durham-Balcombe said she would be looking at the case closely, adding that “legal ramification, repercussions are inevitable” based on the prime minister’s announcement.

“Well, we are just going to wait — not long — … to see what the Cabinet’s final decision will be because I know people are protesting,” Durham-Balcombe said.

“We are also protesting. The best course of action is for them to put the matter back out to tender, maybe among the qualified tenderers and have the process be done with a sense of decency,” she said.

And, Balcombe said that when he and his wife first contacted the CDB expressing concern, the bank was very welcoming.

He summarised their response this way: 

“Mr. Balcombe, we wish that we had more contractors like you and your wife. They said that we do not know what is going on out there, you have to be the eyes and ears and anytime you have a problem, Mr. Balcombe and your wife and your company, don’t be afraid, in any way to contact us immediately.”

He said the CDB gave them a telephone number at which they can lodge complaints.

Durham-Balcombe, commenting on the CDB’s reaction, said:

“So it is very good that the CDB is taking these cases seriously and … not in the case of our government here trying to put down or suppress the people.

“The CDB is encouraging you to speak up and let them know what is going on. They are the ones who are providing the funding so they need to know how their money is being spent and by whom and for what purpose.”

In response to the prime minister’s insistence that the contract will be awarded to Reliable Construction, Durham-Balcombe said:

“There is a clear error in the situation, why are you trying to justify it. The CDB has made their finding as well, we as construction party as well, too.

“We have brought this to your attention as well and you are going to tell me you are just going to be dismissive, ‘I don’t care what the CDB says, I don’t care what Bally and Bally say, the show will go on.’ 

“The show must go on but it must go on with the right characters,” Durham-Balcombe said.

7 replies on “‘I cannot see how this is not corruption’ — Balcombe”

  1. So sad that we have such a callous leader who will do everything in his power to to make sure party hacks are well financed while the ordinary man and woman suffer… such a shame and disgrace to say the least

  2. Gonsalves is going to get cabinet approval and the taxpayers of Vincy will finance the construction of the wall..there’s a saying that time is longer than twine..not to worry poor people..you cant fool the people all of the time..people in Vincy have life really hard and building the wall yourself to save face is just adding insult to injury..humility is needed but this holy PM has none.

  3. It took courage to make this case public and there is a chance to make a change because the funding entity is not exclusively Vincentian. If it were Vincentian they would have less chance than a fart in the wind. All of us living in SVG know that there is blatant political bias throughout all institutions in the country. The entire Caribbean has witnessed that a high judge in SVG has been proven to be politically biased, (in a higher court of law!) and has not been asked to resign. Not only that: This same judge is been given cases linked to politics. Instead or recusing himself has made a very shocking decision whereby an alleged murderer was allowed to get-off free under Humanitarian grounds.
    What is wrong with the voting public of SVG? We vote for our own autocratic tyranny. We vote for a regime that has brought us to economic ruin as well. We may as well call ourselves Venezuela!
    Political bias is so rampant in SVG that anyone would be shocked!

  4. As the U.S “Treasury Department slaps punitive measures on corruption network used ‘to exploit Venezuela’s starving population’,” here we are in SVG going through the motions of trying to get to grips with the actions of our own government that many here considers is now joined at the hip with their Venezuelan counterparts. https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/sanctions-target-venezuelan-food-subsidy-scam-190725155445600.html

    As was reported previously here on our nation’s favourite news site, iwnsvg.com/, Brazil’s former ruling Socialist Government headed by the declared socialist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the 35th President of Brazil had perpetrated on that country, South America’s largest corruption scandal, that came to be known as “the Car-wash Scandal.” Lula began serving a 12 year prison sentence in 2018 for numerous corruption charges. So much for his Socialism!
    https://www.globalwitness.org/ru/press-releases/global-witness-reveals-brazils-car-wash-corruption-scandal-may-have-cost-country-eight-times-more-14-billion-stolen/

    The question is, what is it with these so-called self-styled socialist? What is it with them that cause other people to distrust their sincerity so much, especially when they are discharging their political duties once in office?

    Dilma Rousseff who followed Lula into Office, found herself the subject of impeachment there, and here we are again, being told by the Americans, that an individual by the name of “Saab, bribed Maduro’s three stepsons to win no-bid, overvalued government contracts.” As “New US sanctions target Venezuelan food subsidy scam”.

    It would appear, that these so-called socialist, could only preach the politics of envy, engaging themselves entirely in scams after scams and have no liking at all for the value of hard work and thrift, that led to individual prosperity. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7zMF8Bgkb0

  5. Jolly Green says:

    One of the things that make it more smelly is the closeness of the bids between Bally at $1,47 million and Reliable at $1.42 million. We must ask were Reliable able to tailor a bid to be just below Bally’s? You have to ask that question because it is all relevant.

    How can a bid of $1.47 be rejected because of lack of experience yet the bid of $1.42 from a company less qualified be accepted.

    Then the PM demands that the contractor still gets paid and is allowed to continue to do the work.

    Sorry but the whole thing stinks and overseas agencies should make their voices heard on the matter.

    CDB have been made to look like a bunch of idiots and are now being treated as such.

    I am waiting to see how Cameron Balcombe is treated after this. It would also be interesting to know the opinions of Allison Balcombe, he grew to dislike this regime also. Not that he has influence in this matter because Cameron has grown into a man of self opinions and actions.

    Cameron like Gonsalves has a certain charisma and if you know him you will love him.

    1. news flash ………neither bidder is aware of the bids they proposed until after the process is over ……..nice try Jolly lol smh

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