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Davis Warned Christie Of Ministers Failing To Gain Works’ Approval For Capital Works

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WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister.

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OFFICIAL Opposition Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

UNDER the Christie administration, public/private partnerships were not coordinated through the Ministry of Works and were allowed to begin without technical experts at the ministry weighing in on a number of matters relating to them, Works Minister Desmond Bannister said Monday.

He also revealed that during his term as deputy prime minister and minister of works, Philip “Brave” Davis warned former Prime Minister Perry Christie in a letter that members of Parliament were “authorising contractors to undertake capital and property maintenance works” to be paid by his ministry without the Ministry of Works’ consideration and approval.

Mr Bannister told Parliament that in the letter, Mr Davis warned Mr Christie of the consequences of such action.

The Carmichael MP highlighted these as examples of how disorganised the government was run by his predecessors as he made the case that there could be cause to pursue legal action against members of the former government for misfeasance.

“…It seems that everyone was doing their own thing, just as we alleged,” he said. “...They were an undisciplined group of free agents doing whatever they wanted to do…”

The Christie administration embraced public/private partnerships as a way of financing infrastructural work. It was often touted as a novel approach of the previous government.

But despite the focus on construction in such partnerships, Mr Bannister revealed that because these projects were not coordinated through the Ministry of Works, he has been unable to obtain public/private partnership (PPP) contracts through official sources in his ministry and had to obtain at least two from sources outside the ministry.

“Why the secrecy?” he asked. “The Ministry of Public Works is the government agency that is charged by law with the responsibility with protecting the Bahamian public in these construction ventures. It is regrettable that the highly competent professionals in my ministry were not permitted to be involved in negotiating the contract; agreeing to the contractors; or reviewing and evaluating the scope of works or priced bill of quantities.”

In the case of two public/private partnership ventures, Mr Bannister said he stopped one and Mr Davis had to stop the other.

The project stopped by Mr Davis was the construction of a new post office at the Independence Shopping Centre opposite AF Adderley Junior High School.

Expressing empathy for the person the former administration entered into the partnership with, Mr Bannister said: “It is inconceivable that the former administration put him in the position that it did.

“They directed that the project go on, and permitted millions of dollars of our money to be jeopardised despite the fact that there were no approved plans or building permit for this construction.

“Technical officers of the Ministry of Public Works had advised the former administration that a traffic impact study was required; a proper site assessment should have been completed to see whether there was any possible ground contamination from the nearby gas station; environmental and social assessments were required together with the submission of design details to the relevant governmental agencies for review. None of this was done, yet persons in government authorised the project to proceed and in the process bypassed the Ministry of Works.”

Mr Bannister said a preliminary application for a building permit was made only after a notice was issued demanding that the work be stopped until a permit was applied for.

“The application was deficient, but the work still went on even after a second notice was served,” he said. “The work has stopped until the Ministry of Public Works is satisfied that there is full compliance with the law.”

So far, more than $3m in taxpayer money has been expended through the now stalled project.

Mr Bannister said Mr Davis can’t help the new administration understand the problems concerning PPPs, because starting in 2015 he was stripped of the power that would have allowed his ministry to have a say in such matters.

“His own people started taking power away from him,” Mr Bannister said Monday. “Took all the roadside and park contracts. Didn’t let him know about the public/private partnerships. Cat Island has got to be feeling good that he’s back here while the fella who stripped him is gone. Mr Speaker, I know I won’t hear a point of order on that!”

A source told The Tribune that PPPs were managed through the Ministry of Finance under the Christie administration.

Comments

sealice 2 years, 8 months ago

If Davis was getting screwed by them the 2nd 1/2 of the last term WTF does he keep defending their indefensible actions??? T

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 8 months ago

Banister will do well to stop running his mouth and do some work providing he knows what to do. enough all ready

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 8 months ago

The PPP's were managed by the Ministry of Finance???? No wonder they allowed the tissue paper construction. #tycoonofbypassinglaws

Well Halkitis is gone and Christie is gone, what about the Financial Secretary? Wouldn't he have had a large pay in all these decisions?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 8 months ago

It's amazing that Minnis and his incoming cabinet ministers continue talking on and on about the corrupt activities of the last government. It's as if they now think we the people did not already know that major laws were being broken/ignored time and time again by Christie and most of his cabinet ministers, not to mention many of the permanent secretaries and loads of other senior government officials. I suspect any day now Minnis will be instructing Carl Bethel to tell us that there has been so much corruption, fraud and outright theft by the last government that is will simply not be economically or logistically possible for the new government to pursue criminal charges and seek restitution from those who committed the more serious criminal offenses resulting in mega-millions of dollars of losses for hardworking honest Bahamian taxpayers. We the people are being given a helluva lot of lip service by Minnis and his cabinet ministers, and that's certainly not what the vast majority of us voted for!

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jackbnimble 2 years, 8 months ago

Well isn't it about time that someone did talk?? We knew it was bad but we didn't know it was THIS bad. Those shysters were backside raping our country to the tune of millions dollars. Personally, I would take the lip service any day to just another Government taking up where the last crew left off.

It's time to clean house and even if they can't prosecute them (which everyone is hoping they can) at least lets put some legislation in place to prevent this from happening going forward.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 8 months ago

The present Financial Secretary (Simon Wilson) must be held accountable as he is the primary economic expert and technical advisor to the Minister of Finance ......... He is a professional, not a politician ....... He cannot hide behind politics ........... What was he doing when Perry and his goons were frigging up our finances???????? .......... Where is his documented objection to all of the reckless fiscal decisions being made in the past five years (attn: John Rolle) ............ I sure hoped Simon Wilson had covered his ass

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