ADOMS board out, Marshall goes too

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All five members of the Board of the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS) have been removed. This was done through the dissolution of the Board in the wake of the government’s dissatisfaction with the pace of construction and cost overruns for the new headquarters building.
Cabinet made the decision in its meeting yesterday, days after Prime Minister Gaston Browne called on the board to resign if it did not agree with him and proceed to fire Wendell Marshall, the project manager.
As of yesterday, the construction at the Factory Road site has been temporarily shut down and the project will be completed by the Public Works Department, pending an assessment. This was confirmed by Government’s Chief of Staff Lionel “Max” Hurst who spoke with OBSERVER media last night.
Hurst was unable to identify by name all members of the board except for Henderson Bass who served as Chairman of ADOMS board up until yesterday. Also on the Board was Colonel Glynn Dunnah.
According to Hurst, Cabinet took a decision of dissolve ADOMS board effective immediately and having done that, it did not have to await the resignation of the project manager who, according to Bass had indeed promised to resign on July 23.
Hurst said that since the project has been stopped, at least for now, and the board dissolved, Marshall’s services are no longer required.
Hence, the government official said Marshall’s employment came to an end on July 31 since he was on a month to month arrangement with the government and ADOMS.
Hurst reiterated government’s earlier stated position that, “The Cabinet does not believe that it would take another two million dollars to finish the building and to meet cost of items which Marshall listed.”
The first hint that the Board had been sacked came at about 1:32 p.m. yesterday when a painter on the site, George Henry called in to Voice of the People and said “someone” came to the site and demanded the keys, stating that the prime minister sent him and advised that Public Works would be taking over the project.
When Henry called OBSERVER Radio, he said, “I am on the job at the present moment at ADOMS, and public works came here for the keys about half an hour ago … I don’t know what’s happening but people are working. The prime minister is the prime minister but somebody losing their head somewhere along the line because we are trying to get the building finished.”
The worker said those at the site were not being paid and have been patient knowing the financial constraints of which ADOMS complained.
“We are trying to work with ADOMS and with whoever, the government of Antigua and Barbuda because it is our building we are the citizens, we pay the tax and we deserve more respect from the prime minister and anybody who was sent to close this project down without some form of heads-up of what’s the way forward or anything like that,” Henry added.
He told listeners he did not know the person who showed up at the site demanding the keys, but he reported that the person said, “they were sent by the prime minister … and I think I deserve better with all the hard work I put in without having money to feed my 17 children and somebody can come do as they feel like without giving me any heads-up, that is not government.”
At the time of the call, the Chairman of ADOMS board, Bass, was detailing the issues faced and plans for the facility which is, according to him, 15 percent away from completion. He said the development “was shocking” and the issues were becoming “more difficult” as time progressed and pressure mounted in recent weeks when more money was being sought from the government to finish the project which should have been completed two years ago.
Bass said the Board had no “fear” of saying Marshall was accountable for the cost overruns and items requested which created the problem over the construction of the site.
(More in today’s Free Paper)

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