Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre said the Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) is “very concerned” with the recent “direct award contract” to Fresh Start Construction Company Ltd. to rehabilitate six kilometers of road in the Prime Minister Allen Chastanet’s constituency of Micoud South.
Speaking at a press conference today, August 15, Pierre, who is also the SLP’s political leader, alleged that the contract was awarded without bidding internally or externally for $15.9 million.
He said the contractor has described the facility as design/build/finance road rehabilitation loan and has agreed to finance the full extent of the works. The repayment term is four years at an interest rate of 6.5 per cent per annum based on an initial outflow of $15.9 million, Pierre said.
“Unmistakably, the facility made to the Government of Saint Lucia by the company is a loan. As such the approval of the Parliament of Saint Lucia is required for this loan pursuant to Section 39 and 41 of the Finance (Administration) Act 15.01. We therefore await this matter to be laid before the house for full discussion and disclosure,” Pierre stated.
The former government minister noted that the UWP government has “departed from the practice of the former Saint Lucia Labour Party government to bring design/finance/build facilities to Parliament for approval since all such facilities were treated as ‘loans'”.
He said apart from the need to obey the law, the practice of parliamentary approval allows for scrutiny and transparency of the terms of such contracts.
“The Saint Lucia Labour Party is calling on the government to honour the law and obtain parliamentary approval for the Micoud South Road Rehabilitation Project at the next sitting of Parliament,” Pierre added.