A contract that was inked by the former administration on Advance Polling day was in the spotlight during the 27 February sitting of the House of Assembly. The contract was signed between the BVI government and a St Lucian firm. However, the current Premier informed the House of Assembly that the contract involves over 1000 pages that make an interesting read.
The entire matter of the contract was brought up during the Questions and Answers segment when Third District Representative and Senior Member of the House of Assembly Hon. Julian Fraser sought an update.
In response to the question FDL contract details were not revealed in the House of Assembly as the Premier announced that in the spirit of going green he distributed the documents electronically. Nonetheless Hon. Fahie stated that “On 21 February 2019 – four days before the general elections the former administration did sign an $800,000 plus contract with FDL Consult Incorporation of St Lucia.”
“It happened on the 21st which was advance polling, while we were looking votes they were signing contracts…That’s the date, that’s a fact,” Hon. Fahie declared.
The Premier further emphasized that a contract for consultancy awarded to FDL Consult Incorporation of St Lucia was signed five days before he took office. He also mentioned that the Ministry of Communications and Works has no record of any Virgin Islander contractor benefiting from the project. “Nor were there any conditions put in place to allow for this to happen.
However, Hon. Fahie did note that the contract was being executed according to schedule, “Based on those who are policing the contract they are saying that it is moving fairly well…That was the report given to me.”
At the time the contract was issued then Minister of Communications and Works Hon. Mark Vanterpool stated that the business of running a country never stops and he alluded to the fact that it was elections season saying: “in this season, I am glad to be here to continue the work we have started as a Government, to ensure that, among other areas, our road network is maintained and upgraded for the safety of every resident and visitor to these islands.”
The scope of the contract was to stabilize roads, slopes and embankments. It was explained that as part of the design process, a Climate Risk and Vulnerability assessment will be undertaken, to ensure that the rehabilitated infrastructures are strengthened, to mitigate against future catastrophic events.
In referring to the contractor the then Minister said, “FDL Consult Inc. of St. Lucia has successfully done projects here in the BVI. This time around, they outbid 21 firms that sent in Expressions of Interest, five shortlisted firms and one firm from The Bahamas that responded with technical and financial proposals by the deadline. FDL will now work with the Government of the Virgin Islands, to supervise the engineering, design and construction of this project, for the contract sum of $876,250.00.”
The scope of the project included works being carried out from Blackburne Highway to the Ridge Road, Drake’s Highway to Carrot Bay, Cane Garden Bay, Ballast Bay, Great Mountain, Lower Hope, Little Dix Bay, Long Trench and Fish Bay.