And as we told you last week, COLA is also highly sceptical of the million dollar contract and has evoked the Freedom of Information Act to request the contract documents from the Ministry of Works. Today, COLA’s attorney Kareem Musa explained why they believe the matter will end up in Court.
Kareem Musa, Attorney for COLA
“At this point what we do know is that they employed the selective tendering process and I think it was the VIP that issues a Press Release that rightly pointed out under the Finance Audit Reform Act section 19(5) that any contract, any procurement in excess of five million dollars ought to be under the open tendering procedure and we get the initial remarks from the government that this was not done so this was ought to have been open to tender and according to the government in their first Press Release it was selective tendering process but even if you look at the selective tendering process it is the obligation of the government to get substantial applications not just one so my initial reports are that this was the only tender so whether you look at it from the stand point; for one they are in breach of the open tendering process because they ought to have done that but even if you look at it from the selective tendering process they ought to have received several applications from selected bidders they did not do that according to my information so what we are doing as a first step is to request the contract, that is of utmost importance we need to see the details of the contract because now I’m being told that they are saying something about drains are to be included and that sort of thing so we need to see that contract that was signed last week; two we need to see all the tenders because like I just mentioned if it is the selective tendering process there should be not just one, not two but many applications that went in and we need to know why it is that Imer Hernandez was selected and three according to the government Pres Release there was a consent from the contractor general we would want to see that in writing as well so those are the things as an initial step and as is mentioned in our letter to the CEO we expect to receive a response within two weeks of this letter after that I have explained to Geovanni the options and we are looking at possibly injunctions against the government as you know these are paid out in tranches hopefully we can get something very early on and it would be a judicial review claim against the ministry of works for violating the act because they employed the selective tendering process by their own admission when in fact it ought to have been done open tendering so that is where we are at this point.”
Musa and COLA President Geovanni Brackett also discussed new information that they received which has further called into question the project.
Kareem Musa, Attorney for COLA
“Immediately there were reactions as you know from a lot of engineers especially those in the road works industry that actually build roads and they have come out with numbers and estimates and I can tell you that it is at least have the value for which this was awarded. I got some estimates from companies that say that to do concrete streets is normally six inches or eight inches but they but let’s say best case scenario we get eight inches thick, thirty feet wide with sidewalks we are talking about an estimate of about 306 million dollars max, it could more or less we are talking if it would be forty feet wide, eight inches with side walk maximum of 4.5 million dollars so by any stretch of the imagination we are looking at a contract that is obscenely excessive and like Rufus and Geovanni rightly pointed out it is highly suspect particularly in light of the fact that we have seen this government run through four hundred million dollars mostly for sidewalks and roundabouts and streets and so we know what this is we don’t have to guess we know exactly what this is.”
Geovanni Brackett, COLA
“We want to use this medium to ask minister Boots Martinez if he is the owner of that new gas station that is about to be built on the corner of Farbers’ road near the western highway because is not just yesterday that Farbers road been breaking up and I cannot justify why would you need but I can only suppose that a new gas station there would benefit hefty if you can put smooth streets and can divert traffic through to the western highway but it’s an open question that I can’t say he does have anything but I would hope he can give an honest answer.”
Musa added that once their suspicions are confirmed, they plan to apply to the Court for a judicial review of the contracts, seeking the relief of an injunction that would bar the project from continuing.