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Walwyn ‘personally chose’ 70 contractors for ESHS Wall Project- CoI report

- Commissioner says ‘serious dishonesty’ in relation to elected public officials may have taken place
Calling the way in which the 2016 Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) Wall Project was contracted and implemented as ‘on any view, extraordinary', CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom in his final report has concluded that serious dishonesty in relation to elected public officials may have taken place in reference to former Education Minister, Myron V. Walwyn (inset). Photo: VINO/File
The Commissioner in his findings added that the 70 different contractors hired by Walwyn, were personally chosen as detailed in the report. Photo: BVI CoI
The Commissioner in his findings added that the 70 different contractors hired by Walwyn, were personally chosen as detailed in the report. Photo: BVI CoI
The AG in her report said, 'The subjective manner with which contractors were selected and assigned introduces issues of inappropriate political influence into the procurement process'. Commissioner Hickinbottom added that based on the AG’s finding, seems that there is considerable force in those observations. Photo: VINO/File
The AG in her report said, 'The subjective manner with which contractors were selected and assigned introduces issues of inappropriate political influence into the procurement process'. Commissioner Hickinbottom added that based on the AG’s finding, seems that there is considerable force in those observations. Photo: VINO/File
In her report, the AG noted that there was “no value for money, workers being paid for which was not done,” and blatant violations of the law, in particular the “Public Finance Management Regulations.” Photo: VINO/File
In her report, the AG noted that there was “no value for money, workers being paid for which was not done,” and blatant violations of the law, in particular the “Public Finance Management Regulations.” Photo: VINO/File
Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom says ‘serious dishonesty’ in relation to elected public officials may have taken place with Walwayn and the ESHS Wall Project. Photo: BVI CoI/Youtube
Commissioner Gary R. Hickinbottom says ‘serious dishonesty’ in relation to elected public officials may have taken place with Walwayn and the ESHS Wall Project. Photo: BVI CoI/Youtube
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Calling the way in which the 2016 Elmore Stoutt High School (ESHS) Wall Project was contracted and implemented as ‘on any view, extraordinary', CoI Commissioner Sir Gary R. Hickinbottom in his final report has concluded that serious dishonesty in relation to elected public officials may have taken place in reference to former Education Minister, Myron V. Walwyn.

“The construction of a single wall involved 70 different contractors, the majority of whom had no constructor’s trade licence, in circumstances which disregarded the increased costs and complexity that the use of multiple contractors would inevitably entail, which would inevitably put at risk any desire to get the works completed at speed, as those involved including the Minister Hon Myron Walwyn well knew,” the report detailed.

Key CoI findings

-Walwayn personally hired 70 different contractors
-Majority of the contractors had no constructor’s trade license
-Relevant procurement provisions were avoided
-Matters were artificially manipulated to avoid Cabinet involvement
-Walwyn chose the 70 contractors from a book of people he kept for the purpose
-Contractors selected shortly before an election had to be called

No Proper procedure for project values over $100K

The report detailed that relevant procurement provisions were avoided. It said in respect of Phase 1 of the project, matters were artificially manipulated so that Cabinet involvement was not required and the major contract procurement provisions did not apply to a project which was, on any view, valued at over $100,000.

The Commissioner in his findings added that the 70 different contractors hired by Walwyn were personally chosen as detailed in the report. 

“The contractors were personally chosen by Mr Walwyn. Where (as here) there has been no tender process, regulation 181 of the PFMR requires BVI Government bodies to obtain a list of pre-qualified contractors from the MoF for procurement services and construction works.”

The report details that in relation to the project, there was no evidence of any reference to such a list, or of any effort to consult with the Ministry of Finance, or any other agency on the selection or eligibility of contractors.

“Mr Walwyn chose the 70 contractors from a book of people he kept for the purpose. The practice of not requiring those who were awarded works orders to produce required documents meant that there was little if any 'vetting'.”

Pointing to the Auditor General (AG), Sonia M. Webster’s report it said, “This process is contrary to best practices and contributes to a culture where contractors expect gratuitous public contracts from political representatives without due regard to fairness, transparency and proficiency in the selection process,”

Inappropriate political influence into the procurement process – AG Report

The AG in her report added, “The subjective manner with which contractors were selected and assigned introduces issues of inappropriate political influence into the procurement process”.

Commissioner Hickinbottom said that based on the AG’s finding, it seems there is considerable force in those observations.

The CoI report also pointed out that the personal hiring without proper procedure could be an example of political particularism.

“There was a general election in the BVI in 2015. In response to the suggestion that he had a deliberate and improper political motive for his decisions as to the manner in which this project was implemented and the contractors selected, Mr Walwyn said that, as the administration was not sworn into office for a four-year term until December 2011, an election did not have to be called until December 2015 and could consequently take place as late as early 2016.”

The report continued, “The Premier Dr the Hon Orlando Smith in fact announced an election on 8 June 2015: no one (and certainly not Mr Walwyn) knew of the proposed election date until then, after this project was well underway. Mr Walwyn submitted that, in these circumstances, it would be impossible to conclude that the manner in which these contracts were issued and distributed had any political motive.”

The Commissioner made a point that an election had to take place before February 2016, and these contracts were issued in 2015 and due to be executed in the period to September 2015 which shows temporal association.

He however added, “On the evidence before me, I cannot positively find that the decisions taken by Mr Walwyn were made, even in part, as a potential political inducement to prospective voters.’

Calls for current criminal investigations into project to continue

CoI Commissioner Hickinbottom noted that Mr Walwyn; however, has failed to provide any satisfactory explanation for the quite extraordinary course he adopted to hire 70 contractors, knowing that it would cause expenditure of public money in excess of that needed to individuals with the right to vote.

“It was, in fact, shortly before an election had to be called. Consequently, on all the evidence, I am satisfied that, in expending public money, factors other than those of the public interest may have been taken into account; and, therefore, there is here information that serious dishonesty in relation to elected public officials may have taken place,” the report said.

27 Responses to “Walwyn ‘personally chose’ 70 contractors for ESHS Wall Project- CoI report”

  • bvibuzz (13/05/2022, 11:32) Like (47) Dislike (11) Reply
    Poor fella and he always posting like he an angel
  • Rubber Duck (13/05/2022, 11:37) Like (60) Dislike (10) Reply
    Vote buying, pure and simple. And now he lectures us on morals.

    He needs to be banned from office forever.
  • truth (13/05/2022, 11:50) Like (69) Dislike (2) Reply
    Release these 70 names.. Half of have no construction knowledge!
    • @Truth (13/05/2022, 12:39) Like (43) Dislike (0) Reply
      We The People need to get our money back from these alleged "contractors".
      • Lily Ann (13/05/2022, 18:23) Like (3) Dislike (5) Reply
        You does ask your landlord for your money back when he spends it in the Ladies Den rather than maintenance works on the apartment???? Ok .... well be silent
  • Windy (13/05/2022, 11:59) Like (49) Dislike (8) Reply
    This is the guy some of you wanted as premier well sah
    • not fair (14/05/2022, 15:13) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      Not defending myron, but isnt he better than the one that you actually got as premier??? you see myron on facebook, the other one, you see on jailbook.
  • EYYYYYYYY (13/05/2022, 12:07) Like (30) Dislike (7) Reply
    Myron, I just don’t know about you anymore.
  • jack (13/05/2022, 12:08) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is the internet equivalent of a full page spread
  • Not condoning anything (13/05/2022, 12:19) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    The vote buying, all of them and whoever were selling themselves to the highest bidder for a white envelope is equally guilty. LOL, the same ones whom you sold yourselves to won’t even look at you or know you exist until election rolls around again.
    • Anddddddd (13/05/2022, 17:00) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply
      They quick to saw the white man is the evil ones and the white man slavery BS. Your own black man is slaving you out. LMAO. Selling yourselves out to the highest bidder for a white envelope that can’t even buy a weeks worth of groceries of pay half of your rent. Stop selling yourselves so cheap.
  • Nothing Wrong (13/05/2022, 12:28) Like (18) Dislike (43) Reply
    I see nothing wrong with 70 guys out there trying to clean up debris from the construction site and earn a living EVEN IF they don't have a trade licence. By the Way, NO MINISTER is or gets directly involved in these things. I can't see Walwyn out there looking for these guys himself. Let's face it, the guy hardly had time to sneeze much less look for 70 lil man to work. Let's give jack his jacket though, he was by far the best Education Minister we had to date.
    • @Nothing wrong (13/05/2022, 17:05) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      THERE IS A THING CALLED LIABILITY AND FOLLOWING THE LAWS. Think about it. He may have been the best Education Minister but this is disturbing.
    • Tola Man (13/05/2022, 21:13) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
      Do you understand what the word CONTRACTORS means? It didn't say day laborious, did it? So 70 Contractors then go hire wall builders, workers and possible day labor men to clean up, and sit around talking trash, and get paid for no work.
      see?
  • Wish... (13/05/2022, 12:35) Like (9) Dislike (9) Reply
    Wish I was in Walwyns book. Coulda used the money. I not a contractot but who cant lay block and call TCP?
  • Peonia (13/05/2022, 12:50) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please look into all of the sectors of this economy, a lot of people here are putting in trade licenses for others ,which has no previous knowledge or training in the field..while the people with their certification cannot get a job..Time to clean house.
  • WTF (13/05/2022, 13:04) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    he is got the balls to be out there trying to run for office SMH
  • Wayne DEAD (13/05/2022, 14:37) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    A lot of man can't pay back that money you know lol
  • VIP Supporter (13/05/2022, 14:46) Like (4) Dislike (25) Reply
    Myron did nothing wrong, at the time there gang culture surfacing in the BVI and young men who didn't attend the school was entering the campus and participating in gang war in there , plus the young girl were sneaking out through the fence and running away to love nests with grown men hence, pregnancies were on the rise . The wall had to be built in an emergency situation and he had to cut tru the politics and get it done. And ref . to the price the price is justified 3 different QS already ran the figures and they are correct.
    • Tola Man (13/05/2022, 21:18) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
      you must have been one of the 70, since you know so much, how much did each contractor got? and what did they pay their daily wall builders?
  • Office no more (13/05/2022, 16:57) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    He should just cut a deal
  • reason (13/05/2022, 19:41) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Hang em high
  • Really (13/05/2022, 22:19) Like (2) Dislike (4) Reply
    I doubt that there are 70 construction companies on the islands including those that are not licensed; I wonder if he meant seven instead of seventy.
  • 911 (13/05/2022, 22:54) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Funny man dog eat your food
  • @VIP Supporter (14/05/2022, 07:48) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Three QS ran the numbers and the amounts are correct, you say? Show us the reports. Round off the cost paid to $ 1 million. Assume 15% profit and mark-ups, that leaves $ 850k. Say 25% of that was materials, that leaves $ 750’k. That leaves $ 637.5k in labor. At a daily labor rate of $200 per day, that works out to 3,187 labor days, in other words almost a year for a crew of 10? For an 8 foot masonry wall. Assuming it was all evenly divided, each contractor got about 45 days of work. A decent mason ought to be able to lay about 20 blocks an hour. Say they only laid 100 blocks in a day. And say they only worked 2/3 of the time, each contractor would have laid about 3,000 blocks. A standard block is 8 in tall, so 12 to make an 8’ wall, meaning then each contractor would have erected about 250 feet of wall. Since there were 70 contractors that would mean the wall is about 70x250 feet long or 1,750 feet long, equivalent to about the perimeter of two full size (100x50 meter) pitches. Does the school occupy that kind of footprint? Like I said, let’s see the QS reports. Still doesn’t answer why a budget was not set up ahead of time, or justify building the wall.
  • bojan (16/05/2022, 19:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    What i have to say it's a long time i have been looking at how goverment deal with small money like if they send you off island to a work shop or training program they tell you bring back a recipt for every dollar you spend and if you miss one for $5:00 they take it out your small salery but here thousands and millions must fly away lets be fair jail all of them for my Tax Dollars.


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