$1 million payout for Barbuda contractors

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The government of Antigua and Barbuda said it has shelled out over $1 million in the past week to pay contractors on the sister island.
At yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing, Daryll Matthew, the minister of national festivals, told the media that the contractors are to blame for the payments being delayed.
“Very often the contractors submit incomplete bills that lack the supporting evidence and, given the height and level of scrutiny that is given to anything that is done in Barbuda, we believe there must be full accountability,” Matthew said. “So once contractors do work or any service provider does work on Barbuda, the documentation should be fully in place before any payment is made.”
The minister’s comments were similar to those of Philmore Mullin, the director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) who said that the contractors and labourers who protested earlier this week were the ones causing the backlog.
He said that this was because invoices were not being submitted in a timely manner.
At the time, Mullin could not say when these contractors and workers will be paid, but he said that the problem could be rectified.
The contractors who are employed as part of the Barbuda recovery efforts were owed for more than two months.
Matthew said there was no intention to withhold payment from any entity, however, the appropriate documentation must accompany the request.
“At the end of the day the burden of responsibility for explaining how funds are spent will fall on Mr. Mullin and his team, but, it is the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda that the public will hold responsible and accountable for all monies spent on Barbuda and so we support the movement, ‘if documentation is not in place do not pay.’ We endorse it,” he said.
The minister urged anyone contracted by the government to do work to submit their invoices and supporting documents in a timely manner.

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