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Poor Port Dev. tender process cost taxpayers over $1.7 M!

Former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Arlene Smith-Thompson expressed conflict of interest issues before the Public Accounts Committee
Former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mrs. Arlene Smith-Thompson (left) told the House of Assembly‘s Public Accounts Committee that she had concerns about Mr. Claude O. Skelton-Cline’s being on the Tender Board to select a company for the project as “he was dealing with some of the same entities that he had been negotiating with earlier.” Photo: VINO/File
Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith who seemed to have escaped the Ports Development Project scandal made an elaborate presentation before a special BVI Ports Authority Board meeting asking them to pass a Resolution allowing the Ports Authority to assume responsibility for the expenditure incurred by Tortola Pier Partners (TPP) (up to $1.7 million) should the arrangement that the Ministry of Finance was pursuing with this developer fail to solidify into an agreement. Photo: VINO/File
Financial Secretary Neil M. Smith who seemed to have escaped the Ports Development Project scandal made an elaborate presentation before a special BVI Ports Authority Board meeting asking them to pass a Resolution allowing the Ports Authority to assume responsibility for the expenditure incurred by Tortola Pier Partners (TPP) (up to $1.7 million) should the arrangement that the Ministry of Finance was pursuing with this developer fail to solidify into an agreement. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - While some will want the House of Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) damaging report on the Ports Development Project to go away, the more one reads the report the more the testimony of public officers show corruption, conflict of interest and lack of transparency.

In her testimony before the PAC former Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communications and Works Mrs. Arlene Smith-Thompson expressed concern about Mr. Claude O. Skelton-Cline’s being on the Tender Board to select a company for the project as “he was dealing with some of the same entities that he had been negotiating with earlier.”

More evidence of Ports Board left out!

According to the report on page 10, section 42 the entire process from tendering to selection, to termination lasted from August 2012 to September 2013. During this period, despite the involvement of former Consultant, now Managing Director of the Authority, Mr. Claude O. Skelton-Cline, the Authority was again largely left out of the process.

The report detailed that this was demonstrated in the following events:

a. On October 17, 2012, the Deputy Financial Secretary Mr. Wendell M. Gaskin told the Board that the prior process that had been undertaken by the Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool was not handled properly and that the Ministry of Finance was now managing the tender process for the project;

b. Six months later on April 16, 2012 the Minister attended a meeting of the Ports Board and informed the members that the “Cruise Pier Development is going forward despite the noise from the public;”

c. On  May 3, 2013 at a special meeting of the Authority’s Board, the Financial Secretary, Mr. Neil M. Smith and the Managing Director Mr. Claude O. Skelton-Cline made an elaborate presentation to the Board members asking them to pass a Resolution allowing the Ports Authority to assume responsibility for the expenditure incurred by Tortola Pier Partners (TPP) (up to $1.7 million) should the arrangement that the Ministry of Finance was pursuing with this developer fail to solidify into an agreement.

Why was the Ministry of Finance involved?

The PAC report considered the involvement of the Ministry of Finance in the procurement process for the Cruise Ship Port Development Project. The Committee ascertained that the BVI Ports Authority as an independent statutory entity was fully capable of engaging the tender process for development works to be managed by that body.

In addition, the PAC report said that the Authority had in the past engaged the procurement process for projects involving the cruise pier and other port developments. No reason was provided to the Authority or to the PAC on why the process was not followed in August 2012 as appropriate, the report stated.

The Committee also concluded that the Ministry of Finance infringed on the BVI Ports Authority’s independence by engaging and controlling the tender process for a project which is properly under the control of the BVI Ports Authority.

Tender process lacked transparency & was biased costing tax payers $1.7 M

The PAC concluded that the procurement process engaged by the Ministry of Finance for the Development of the Cruise Pier Project was flawed as it created an unfair bias towards TPP’s submittal and rendered other prospective tenders at an immediate and severe disadvantage.

The PAC questioned the efficiency of the Ministry of Finance’s procurement process which after more than a year of assessment and negotiation resulted in failure to execute a contract for the project and a liability for the BVI Ports Authority in excess of $1.7 Million Dollars.

According to the record the $1.7 Million was paid to TPP.

32 Responses to “Poor Port Dev. tender process cost taxpayers over $1.7 M!”

  • ... (26/06/2014, 11:36) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    here we go again what will come out next!
  • Virgin Son (26/06/2014, 11:57) Like (10) Dislike (1) Reply
    some persons were only too willing to sell we out for thirty pieces of silver....or sorry 1.7 million
    • Only Angels (26/06/2014, 13:10) Like (13) Dislike (1) Reply
      Fix the problem for once and stop complaining, 1. vote out NDP, 2. UK come in and take over
      • x factor (26/06/2014, 19:47) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        A healthy level of skepticism I think is necessary as politicians and state institutions all say the same things, make the same promises but only minimally serve the people to the extent it serves their political ambitions.
  • Observer (26/06/2014, 11:57) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Can someone tell us who is Tpp? If the public know who they are then all these publications will make sense right now the public don't know,let's get the facts and see if we getting like our partners down island..
  • Smitte (26/06/2014, 11:59) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    I don't think this is true because me Na know any thing like this was going on this is corruption to its fullest right under me nose
  • concern (26/06/2014, 12:12) Like (8) Dislike (3) Reply
    Look trouble that's why the NDP MUST GO!!
  • BVI is home (26/06/2014, 12:12) Like (23) Dislike (2) Reply
    So in 3 short years the NDP caused 30yrs of damage to the BVI
  • Release (26/06/2014, 12:19) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    the FS did what? Is this man for real ?
  • keep on it VINO (26/06/2014, 12:26) Like (12) Dislike (2) Reply
    VINO, I am counting on you to keep on this dirty issue. It is filthy on all angles and by keeping the heat on thru the media, you never know how far reaching these articles are going. Once you have facts, don't back down at all. We think that nothing is going to happen, but from my sources, these guys are being given enough rope to hang themselves and do it good. I commend you on this reporting.
  • TT MAN (26/06/2014, 12:57) Like (1) Dislike (8) Reply
    ha ha much to do about nothing
  • pat (26/06/2014, 13:05) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    Way to go mr minister, we moving on with or without public noise pass de ball, it's World Cup time after all!!
    • pat pat pat (26/06/2014, 22:39) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      If only it was just public noise. steal any phone numbers lately just because you want them?
  • jail (26/06/2014, 19:37) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    No two persons should be allowed to frustrate so many for so long,
  • my two cents (26/06/2014, 19:51) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is gang warfare to the maximum. Two rival gangs of Government and Opposition have ganged up to attack the defenceless people. The gangs are using the HOA as a Trojan horse to get into the Treasury to help themselves and each other to what's left in the People's vaults.
    • wize up (27/06/2014, 07:48) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      to "my two cents"...you know what is really going on; you have spoken the truth...well said and it is a fact...let them run go talk that(i love it "two rival gangs of Government"...true !!!! true !!!!!)
  • bay yute (26/06/2014, 20:01) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply

    These people Mark and Cline think we are fools?
  • JACK BE STILL (26/06/2014, 20:12) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    $1.7 Million is 'well rewarded'???
  • % (26/06/2014, 20:38) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    We need an election in the bvi.!!!!!
  • Well Sah (26/06/2014, 21:13) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Well sah is all I can say!
  • Liat 521 (26/06/2014, 23:33) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    War in the bvi
  • Can't believe it (27/06/2014, 11:21) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply

    The perpetrators should be held responsible and made to pay back the people. It is our money. They need to be j..led.

  • wize up (27/06/2014, 11:27) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    the VIP gave the people of the bvi bi-water; to this day NOT one-drop of water from that VIP bi-water deal...ndp/vip same ting
    • Strupes (28/06/2014, 06:22) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      please tell us why biwater has not provided water to the people again. that company going sue somebody for slander. stop slandering.
  • Liat 521 (27/06/2014, 12:35) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    we are just not capable managing our own affairs
  • concerned citizen (28/06/2014, 13:07) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    the way the ndp selling the bvi by election time there won't be a country left to vote for


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