ADOMS construction manager bows, resigns

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Wendell Marshall has offered his resignation as construction manager of the headquarters project for the Antigua and Barbuda Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping (ADOMS).
His decision was made this week following Monday’s  emergency meeting of the Board of ADOMS and relayed to the prime minister, Gaston Browne, who today informed Cabinet of the development.
Marshall’s decision comes mere days after PM Browne called for him to be sacked otherwise the government would not give ADOMS another $2 million which was requested to help finance the construction of the headquarters that has been plagued by cost overruns and should have been finished two years ago.
The Cabinet was informed that the ADOMS Board will accept Marshall’s resignation.
At the same time, government’s Chief of Staff, Lionel “Max” Hurst said, the completion of the ADOMS building “will not require two million dollars, as the demand was made of the Government, the Cabinet is certain.”
It was on Saturday, while speaking on the Antigua Barbuda Labour Party aligned, Pointe FM, that the prime minister declared that he would not grant any release of funds unless Marshall was fired.
At last week’s post-Cabinet press conference, the government’s Chief of Staff said that nearly $30 million had been spent on the building when it was supposed to have $17 million.
Also, at last week’s post-Cabinet press conference, Information Minister, Melford Nicholas, when asked if the government would ever launch a formal audit of the project, said the administration was not opposed to it.
The prime minister too said he is not opposed to an audit though he did not commit to ordering one.
A day ago, PM Browne was criticised for his handling of the matter.
The condemnation came from Anthony Stuart, spokesperson on Finance, Economic Development and Corporate Governance for the Democratic National Alliance party.
He outlined that the Prime Minister is somewhat misguided in his intentions.
The former senator said that the prime minister’s call for the sacking of only the project manager would suggest that he knows a bit more than what was disclosed to the public.
“If you have a board and other persons on that board, then it begs the question why not let an internal audit determine where the money went?” Stuart said.
He added, “If any sacking should take place, sack everybody. If not, conduct or institute an independent audit, ask the director of the audits and his team to initiate one so that we could get an understanding as to why this project had doubled the estimated cost from the onset.”

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