Last week, COLA through its attorney invoked the Freedom of Information Act and has asked the Ministry of Works for reasonable inspection of several documents in connection with the contract awarded to Imer Hernandez. President of COLA, Goevanni Brackett and Attorney Kareem Musa addressed the media this afternoon.
Attorney Kareem Musa
“I can tell you that it is at least half the value for which this was awarded. I got some estimates from companies that say that to do concrete streets normally its either eight inches but let’s just say best case scenario we get eight inches thick thirty feet wide with sidewalks we are talking about an estimate of $3.6 million dollars max. We are talking if it were to be forty feet wide, eight inches with sidewalk maximum of $4.5 million dollars. So by any stretch of the imagination we are looking at a contract that is obscenely excessive and as Rufus and Giovanni rightly pointed out it is highly suspect particularly in light of the fact that we have seen this government run through $400 million dollars mostly on sidewalks and roundabouts and streets. Under the finance and audit reform act section 19 (5) that any contract any procurement in excess of $5 million ought to be under the open tendering procedure and we get the initial remarks from the government that this was not done so this ought to have been open to tender and according to the government in their first press release it was selective tendering process. 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 am being told about something about drains will 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 or two but many applications that went in and we need to know why it is that Emer Hernandez was selected and three according to the Government’s Press 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 Giovanni the options, we are looking at possible injunctions against the government, as you know these things are paid out in tranches so hopefully we can get something very early on and it would be a judicial review claim against the Ministry of Works for acting ultra vires the act because they employed the selective tendering process by their own admission when in fact it ought to have been done open tendering.”