Minister for Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport Phillip J. Pierre has said that his government has not only had to deal with the current economic crisis, but to endure the consequences of several bad financial decisions by the former United Workers Party (UWP) Government.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday April 29, 2014, Pierre sought to shed light on what he said were a number of infrastructural projects which had glaring differences between the estimates proposed by technocrats in the ministry and what were actually awarded during the UWP’s reign.
Pierre’s statement comes in response to suggestions by Castries South-east Member for Parliament Guy Joseph that the government has been poorly managing the country.
Pierre and Joseph have recently been in conflict over the media following accusations from them both of nepotism and abuse of public office.
Pierre said that with every bad decision made by the former government, there is an associated cost which his government has had to pay.
In referring to the Bocage Road project, Pierre said that on October 13, 2011, the UWP entered into a contract with Asphalt and Mining (A&M) against the advice of the technical personnel in the Ministry of Communications and Works. He said government signed a contract valued at $9.97 million, but based on what was proposed by technocrats in the ministry it should have cost $8.86 million.
Among the overpricing alleged by Pierre, was for a retaining wall of up to five meters done by A&M at the cost of $3,450 per meter. The ministry had proposed this to be done at $1,750. Pierre also mentioned another retaining wall of up to three meters by A&M, which cost $4,225 per meter. The ministry had estimated that each meter should cost $1,050.
“These are the challenges we are faced with. We are paying for bad decisions that continue to cost us a fortune,” Pierre said while adding, “What was the motivation to enter a contract so soon before elections, where Ramjewan was a witness. Money paid out with no work or guarantee of work. Now we must do the work. These are the bad decisions that are costing us now.”
According to the contract, a 20 percent advance was paid when it was made. It was done about a month before general elections that year.
According to Pierre, his ministry is in the process of undertaking the proposed works with alterations to suit fiscal restrictions. That will cost $329,000.