Photo Credit: Clifton Skelton/BVI Platinum News
The government has assured local contractors that the issuing of contracts will be done equally under the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) $65.2M rehabilitation and reconstruction loan. This promise came from Premier and Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith.
The loan is to help with the BVI’s recovery works following hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Under the previous $15.7M loan projects, which CDB had granted the BVI for works following tropical storm Otto, a number of local contractors had complained about not receiving contracts.
“Well one of the things that we have to do, and we have had discussions with CDB on this, is see how we can bring up to speed the local contractors and also how we can work with them to combine their efforts with one another and with larger contractors,” he told reporters yesterday afternoon, April 12, during a press conference.
He added, “And there are many things we can do to make sure that they are all involved in the process and this is something that we will be looking at together with CDB and UNDP, who is here to work with us.”
Premier Smith, who said that $300,000 of the loan project is a grant for climate risk, explained that there is some fine-tuning to be done before the BVI can access the money.
“Any loan that comes through CDB or any international organization comes with certain requirements, and we have to follow the procedural rules in order to get the projects done.”
One such rule is the procurement process.
“How the procurement is done; how you access the funds; how you get consultants on both (ends) to do the planning; and how you get contractors on board to do the work. And, so we have to go through those processes and once those are complete then the project is undertaken,” he explained.
Premier Smith stated that this is done to ensure that there is value for money and accountability.
The loan project was launched on April 11 and Premier Smith had indicated that weeks following the devastation by the hurricanes, CDB was one of the first to come forward offering help to the Territory.
The $65.2M will be disbursed over the next three years.