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$120,000 To Repair Bamsi

The BAMSI blaze in January 2015.

The BAMSI blaze in January 2015.

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

IT WILL cost over $120,000 to repair the male dormitory at the Bahamas Agriculture and Marine Science Institute after last week’s fire gutted the building, according to BAMSI contractor Audley Hanna.

Mr Hanna said the cost is expected to rise after a team from the Ministry of Works, which arrived in Andros today from the capital, completes their assessment of the damage. The contractor also added to speculation that a disgruntled employee started the fire, telling The Tribune: “That is a possibility.”

His comments come two days after Fire Chief Superintendent Walter Evans confirmed to The Tribune that the fire was the result of arson.

He said several persons were assisting police with their investigations but declined to comment on whether police believe one of these persons started the blaze.

“We were waiting on a cheque from the first of December which we did not get, so the last cheque that we got was right before Christmas,” Mr Hanna said yesterday. “It was about eight employees that did not get paid but I do not think it was one of them.”

“We did have an incident with one sub contractor that claimed we owed him more money. We paid him, but he wanted more. He carried on really bad and made threats, the police had to be called. So, maybe that is what people are talking about, but the police know the information and we just have to wait for them to finish their investigation. The Ministry of Works is assessing the damage and my engineers are assessing the damage, but at last count it was about $120,000.”

Mr Hanna said he expects insurance to cover the cost of repairs.

Meanwhile, Agriculture Minister V Alfred Gray has denied speculation that the fire may have been started by disgruntled contractors who had not been paid by the government.

Supt Evans led a team from Nassau to Andros Thursday night to investigate the fire, which reportedly started sometime before 7pm.

Firefighters battled the blaze until shortly after 11pm.

The blaze left the male dormitory severely damaged.

BAMSI is a major government initiative established in an effort to reduce the country’s reliance on food imports.

Students began studying at the institute last year following construction delays.

This year’s courses began last week, with the arrival of 10 students who will study with 45 others from nine different islands who registered for the institute’s associate’s degree programmes last year.

In June last year, Bahamas Public Service Union (BPSU) President John Pinder said he was investigating claims that some construction workers at the institute had not been paid overtime.

Mr Pinder also said he had received complaints about unfair practices by the contractors, including issues of hourly rates and how Bahamians were allegedly being treated compared to foreigners. He has also heard concerns from some workers over the status of National Insurance Board contributions on their behalf.

Comments

John 5 years ago

Despite apparantly committing a criminal act the young man who allegedly set the BAMSI building on fire is a victim in this matter. Going to work everyday and expecting to be paid. Not wanting to quit because another job is so hard to find. And so you continue to work full of faith that eventually you will be paid. Maybe this can be a real test of restorative justice. Maybe someone can start a fund to help the young man pay for the damages he caused. They maybe his punishment can be reduced based on the amount he is able to pay back.

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brownskinboi 5 years ago

Ahh, I'd venture to say he burned down the wrong building... prolly should've been his boss house. I dont think his boss would have hd people on the job if he wasnt getting paid from the Gov't. but hey... its we country.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years ago

120,000...I'll wait for the statement from Alfred Gray in 2 months saying we've spent 500,000 and expect to spend another 2 million. What cheque were they waiting on btw? Was it a late payment from government?

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realfreethinker 5 years ago

Something stinks to high heaven here How the hell it will only cost$120,000.00 to repair this building. The roof alone will cost more than that

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Publius 5 years ago

They need to tell that story to persons who don't know any better and don't want to know any better - oops, they already did, they told it to the press.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years ago

It never ceases to amaze me the number of stories printed where basic common sense questions aren't asked.

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John 5 years ago

No Whitney bastion was the contractor. He also had the contract for the courts which is almost two years late

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duppyVAT 5 years ago

Politics makes strange bed fellows!!!! I will wait and see how the government will reclaim their $120,000 from a crooked contractor who doesn't pay his workers!!!!! This will leave a lot of egg on Perry, Brave, A Forbes and V Alfred faces!!! .............. and Bahamians getting screwed out of more Treasury money

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realfreethinker 5 years ago

these old plps dont retire huh how the hell Bastian still getting contracts from gov. Oops I know faithful plp crony

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TalRussell 5 years ago

How does 35 sheeps and goats come to add up to become $50 million done spent? Comrades now da Tribune must speedily dispatch their own reporter's lens, see if evidence exists PM's and his Minister's BAMSI statements who told media back 2014, that there are 35 head of sheeps and goats which was done imported and landed on BAMSI site in Andros. Did them ever make it there? And, if so, do headcount see, if they still alive and kickin? More importance for some Tribune journalistic investigation, do them sheeps and goats look more be Androsian born, than foreigner imported lookin? Comrade Tribune reporter these are matters of livestock importance must be checked out, like where's they were imported from and for how much dollars? PM and cabinet you mean say there were not 35 Comrade sheeps and goats locally that you had ask minister immigrationFreddy, issue 35 work permits?

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by TalRussell

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Publius 5 years ago

Who is the insurer in this matter? It is interesting that Hanna already has a figure quoted, but there is no mention of the investigation by the insurer for the Contractors' All Risk Hanna is supposed to have for this project. As for the alleged cause of the fire, the Tribune is saying that V Alfred shot down claims that a disgruntled worker may have set the fire, but the Guardian is saying that V Alfred said a disgruntled worker admitted to police that he set the fire.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years ago

Ahah! That's what I'd like to know, and when exactly was the insurance taken out. These people like to play fast and loose with the truth

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marrcus 5 years ago

$120,000 thats a joke............ will be over a million when they are done.

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Publius 5 years ago

If the insurer has reason to believe that the fire is an act of insurance fraud for example, the insurer may not pay anything at all. It is curious that the name of the supposed insurer has yet to be mentioned in any of the stories on this fire. If the contractor had insurance, who is it with, what is the value of the insurance, when was it put into effect and for how long a period was the risk insurance taken out?

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realfreethinker 5 years ago

And you relly expect answers from this crew ? good luck with that

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Publius 5 years ago

I would expect the media to get this information. They have not stated that they tried to but failed to.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

Comrade it is even worse. Like you're reading a story and suddenly you get this flash that says; didn't I just read this almost word for word in another media outlet or some government or political party's press release?

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ted4bz 5 years ago

Facebook: @ted4bz @adrianfrancis: I agree with you Adrian.

I am happy to know that they have arrested the person, but it's not enough. The truth is this and many crimes in this country can be averted if officials in authority get with it and make themselves effective or vacate the offices they occupy. This is in all government agencies we make our request or complaints and don't as much as get a response.

I am tired of the small man alone paying the crimes of high corruption in this country. Stick with it Adrian, ignore naysayers and people who are calling to defend and ignore the causes of corruption leading to crime in this country.

Twitter: @ted4bz @ChrissyLoveRaw the thing is the BAMSI Fire cost us $1m in damage & one man jailed. But BoB cost us more the $100m and no one is jailed.

Twitter: @ted4bz @ChrissyLoveRaw no I don't agree with the BAMSI fire, but I am tired of the small man paying the price and the high rollers getting away.

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TalRussell 5 years ago

This is by no means meant condone what it is the Comrade is alleged to have done, but it does make me worrying about what led up to it. He is not the only one angry about the way workers across this land are being treated by their employers and although the government is often aware of what's going on, they are unwilling to take swift action against employers. In fact, it is no stretch to say that before the BAMSI saga is over, he won't be the last Androsian left on their own fend wages, by this PLP cabinet. Did the Minister report to his Minister of Labour colleague, the rumours he had heard of workers, not being paid by the contractor? If not, why not? I know the alleged action were wrong but I do understand his anger and I pray that the policeman's do have right and only one responsible for the planning and setting of fire. And, that some good lawyer will step forward to represent him, if charges are laid against Comrade.

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Publius 5 years ago

This very well could be simply a case of a disgruntled person taking matters into their own hands and in the wrong way, but I am not ready to accept that simple explanation as just that, just yet.

As for that $120,000 so-called repair quote, what are they repairing the building with, paper mache?

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asiseeit 5 years ago

I would love to know the exact figure the building cost in the first place. We will never know because we do not have a Freedom of Information act and the government will treat the number as a highly sensitive state secret to shield any corrupt practices from being exposed. The people of The Bahamas are being raked over the coals by unethical, greedy, traitor's known as politicians and their croney's. We elect the same kleptocrats time and again. When will we as a people who are being abused take our country back from those that have and are abusing us? How hard do we have to be beaten with the economic whip of our oppressors before we rise up?

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John 5 years ago

Do you realize that Perry Christie is the most experienced politician today? Yet despite knowing how ailing this country is financially he continues to practice cronyism. Because of this Bahamians are not only Not getting value for money but they (ok we) fine ourselves having to pay for the same items in the government's budget over and over. And the same set of people are being enriched off the sweat of the Bahamian people. They never had the intention of delivering the goods and or services for which they contracted. Yet they continue to receive government contracts and live lavishly while the average Bahamian struggles to buy noodles then have to eat them in the dark. The gold Rush like to point to the red shirts and talk about the cost over runs on the road development project. But despite this project costing double what was budgeted, Bahamians received value for money, there was no shoddy or defective work and Bahamians can get to most destinations on the island in 1/3 of the time it took prior to the roadworks. Imagine the man hours and fuel that is being saved every day. And all major roads are well lit and more safe. Maybe the time has come for Perry Christie to bring his cabinet and his misinters and his permanent secretaries together and say there will not be any more political patron ism. We will protect the money of the Bahamian people and ensure we get value for money. Contracts will be awarded on a persons ability to fulfill them and persons who do not complete works in a satisfactory and timely manner will not even be allowed to bid on any government contract until he/she redeems himself/herself. Imagine what this can do for the quality of work being delivered to the Bahamian people. This will instantly weed out those who get government contracts but do not deliver. But guess what some of them is also the same set who borrow money from BoB and Bahamas Development bank and ain't pay it back. Them is the same set who ain't paying no taxes or no other government bills. Time to stop them from living off (or on) the backs of the Bahamian people.

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John 5 years ago

correction Perry Christie is the most experienced active politician today meaning no one else in active politics have the experience of serving 40 years plus and being a two time prime minister.

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ThisIsOurs 5 years ago

I've heard it said that cockroaches could survive a nuclear holocaust, I don't know if it's true but I think it would be great if horses could survive a nuclear holocaust instead, cockroaches are nasty. Not comparing anyone to a cockroach, just saying "surviving" over time isn't the full story, maybe you hid until a rock while the world was burning...who knows

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ted4bz 5 years ago

Imagine a referee who turns his head to illegal acts of boxer B in a boxing match. If boxer B delivers blows with the knees to the nuts, elbow to the chest and a choke hold to the neck of boxer A.

  1. What are the rules?
  2. What is boxer A to do? a. To stick with the rules b. Respond likewise or, c. Surrender and lay down in defeat?

In all truth there is only one of two options we have when authorities fail to deliver justice: 1. Respond to violence with violence or, 2. Surrender to the violence by doing nothing.

Either way it is no good and the only solution is to discipline authorities who fail to fulfill the offices of conduct.

When officials are reluctant to do their duties there is only one outcome, a collapsing society and the result is what we have now, the law of the jungle.

Who is responsible for all that is happening? The man sent to jail or those who are neglecting their duties? The only way to help this country is to respond in fairness, or continue adding to the the mess by choose one side.

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asiseeit 5 years ago

Why do you think that stealing is so ingrained in the Bahamas? We learn from our leaders and emulate them. We see the corruption and we see that NO ONE is held accountable or brought to justice so why not do it ourselves. Our supposed leaders have set the bar very low. Bahamians are not stupid, we know what is going on. This country is small and Bahamians love to talk. Who do these supposed leaders think they are fooling? We know they are crooked and therefore if it takes being crooked as well to get ahead many if not the majority of Bahamians will stoop to the level of our supposed leaders to do just that.

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ted4bz 5 years ago

Sent to Carlton Smith via email:

I have not heard one person on air condoning what happened at BAMSI that includes myself.

It seems however that more emphasis (reiterating and reiterating) are being placed on condoning the crime or not condoning these crimes. To me this is disproportionate and does very little to help what is happening to our country.

Far less emphasis are placed on preventing what is causing these unpleasant conditions (crimes). It appears that officials are either not at the wheel, lack the will or their hands are tied. Whatever the case might be it appears officials are failing to bring attention and satisfaction to matters of importance.

As I have said before if the referee turns his head to one of the players in the game then there are only one of two options: 1. To respond to violence with violence (I do not suggest that at all). Or, 2. Surrender, give up and concede defeat (and most of us do this, but this only encourages bulling and more and more of the same).

Since authorities fail to bring results to our social issues and importance then what else to do but one of the two?

Sent from my iPhone

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ThisIsOurs 5 years ago

I agree, this past weekend Brave Davis and Alfred Gray piped up talking about "rising from the ashes" as if this were some 9/11 equivalence when nothing could be further from the truth. This contractor was WAAAAYYY behind schedule WAAAAYYY over budget, had BEEN PAID MILLIONS OF DOLLARS and couldn't pay his workers? What kind of contractor gives you the cost to maybe complete the roof as an approximate cost to reconstruct a building destroyed by fire? I'm still not convinced he had insurance AT THE TIME of the blaze. This is gross negligence on the part of the project manager, the Minister of Agriculture and the Prome Minister. Bradley Roberts was on radio yesterday with Bodie and they basically called us Bahamians fools. A statement was made that "I don't understand why these construction workers choose to work for contractors who have a well known reputation for not paying people"

WTF.!?! That construction worker is struggling to make maybe 250 per week in a bad economy. Why didn't Bodie ask the question, why would the government give a million dollar contract to a man with a well known reputation for not paying people? Dissolve parliament save us.

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