Controversial Cruise Pier Project still in cross hairs, more questions
At the upcoming Tuesday April 18, 2017 Sitting of the House of Assembly (HoA), Opposition Leader Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) will ask both the Premier and Minister for Communications and Works a series of questions on this project.
With public pressure for a Commission of Inquiry (CoI) after some three reports on the project spoke to conflict of interest, violation of the laws, no value for money and that no one was looking out for the public’s interest, Premier and Minister of Finance Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL) decided to carry out an Audit of the project.
Hon Fahie wants to know
The Opposition, the media and civil society cried foul and said it was tantamount to Government auditing itself after Premier Smith announced he was going to carry out his own investigation of the ports project.
However, at the April 18, 2017 HoA meeting Hon Fahie will want to know, via questions to Premier Smith, the status of the self-arranged probe, the commencement date, and the completion date of the Cruise Pier Project audit.
Hon Fahie will also quiz Communications and Works Minister Hon Mark H. Vanterpool (R4) on the project expenditure to date, inclusive of all variations, all construction, legal, Project Management specialists, materials, civil works and professional fees.
Hon Vanterpool is to tell the public the outstanding monies owed and variation on the Marine and Land phases to date on the Cruise Pier Project.
In addition, the Opposition Leader wants to know who did the work, cost for each Purchase Order and if the contract under each phase was tendered and if not why not. Hon Fahie also wants to know if the project was in keeping with the Protocols for Effective Financial Management, among other queries.
No CoI despite 3 negative reports
While no one is opposed to the multi-million dollar much needed cruise ship project, as it's critical to the Virgin Islands’ stake in cruise tourism, the public has been pressuring the Governor John S. Ducnan OBE for a probe following three reports; one from the Auditor General, the other from the HoA’s Public Accounts Committee and one from a former project manager, American Hugh E. Darley.
The three reports concluded that there were corruption, no value for money and blatant violation of the Public Financial Management Act.