BHM says government alone cannot fire it

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Public Relations Officer for Bahamas Hot Mix (BHM) Co Limited, Vikindra Simon said that the Government of Antigua and Barbuda cannot, on its own, fire the company.

BHM was awarded the contract to design and build the Friars Hill Road and the Sir George Walter Highway in 2017, as part of a Road Infrastructure Rehabilitation Project funded by a grant from the United Kingdom.

Since the project began in September of 2017, the company has announced several completion dates as a result of ongoing delays. The latest date of complete rehabilitation of the road network is September 2020.

BHM has maintained that it will finish the roads, but on September 29th, Works Minister Lennox Weston reiterated threats to fire the company if it failed to deliver by the end of 2019.

But Simon told OBSERVER media that, based on the awarded contract, “one party cannot make such vast decisions about being fired”.

According to the Procurement Procedures of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) – the institution financing the project – it has the authority to suspend or sanction firms or individuals, at any time, for not conforming to proper practices.

Section 5.5 under Non-Compliance states that “If the Recipient or other parties involved in the procurement process do not comply with the applicable procurement requirements, CDB may, in addition to the contractual remedies set out in the relevant Financing Agreement, take other appropriate actions, including declaring Misprocurement”.

Meanwhile, Simon addressed comments by Minister Weston which suggested that BHM was benefitting by purposefully delaying the road project, saying: “We are not intentionally delaying any project” and maintaining that the company has had delays based on a lack of coordination with the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA).

Nonetheless, the construction company said “our goal is to finish the roads in Antigua and Barbuda and that’s what we’re gonna stick with”.

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