Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark Vanterpool announced that the former Government did not tender the contract that was awarded to Biwater, and that action resulted in the Territory being left with a 42 Million (US) Dollars liability.
During the debate of the Auditor General’s report on the Cruise Pier Project in the House of Assembly on 22 July.
Hon. Vanterpool painted a gloomy picture of what the Biwater agreement resulted in. He told the House: “I was looking deep to see if there was a tender, I don’t know the figure yet but if I multiply it, it will be hundreds of millions, hundreds of millions for a project that was awarded without tender. Over the next 15 years hundreds of millions this country is going to have to pay for water from Biwater. Over the next 15 years, and I went through the files looking for the tendering process and I can’t find them. Biwater was awarded a contract, it does not make sense we going around in circles, without any tendering process.”
The Minister complained that the agreement ended up costing the Territory millions: “I am talking about hundreds of millions, the first bill that this government have to pay (for) 2.3million gallons of water the first day they open that tap. Whether we can take it and use it, that’s what the agreement is. We have to pay for it. I don’t know if they have a tender that this government would have had to have a liability of 42 million dollars. I don’t think if it was tendered we would have had to have this.”
Hon. Vanterpool also disclosed that the Biwater agreement has caused the Government’s borrowing ability to be limited: “Now this Government cannot borrow a portion of their borrowing capability in the amount of 42 million dollars. They can’t borrow more than that amount. They can’t borrow that amount because the United Kingdom Government has said that that is a part of the liability, and therefore you’re sealed in and restricted by it, you can’t borrow that money to do anything else. It is what it is… Now on my wisdom, my little simple wisdom I can’t see how giving the country 2 million gallons of water needed to put the country in debt of 42 Million Dollars,” the Minister stated.