Gov’t signs MOU for Barbuda runway

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The British company earmarked to build Barbuda’s new runway is not only doing so for a “competitive” price but has offered the government up to US $5 million financing interest-free, Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in defence of waiving the tendering process.
But he also told OBSERVER media that even though his administration has initialed a Memorandum of Understanding with BHM Co Ltd, consideration could still be given to a local firm.
“A local company that has capacity is CO Williams. If it comes to us before we sign the Memorandum of Agreement and says that it can offer a better price and the same terms and conditions in terms of credit, certainly we can look at it,” the prime minister assured.
State projects valued at more than $20,000 must go to tender.
Meantime, Browne believes the Bahamas-based firm is able to offer the government a “good deal” of building a 45 metre-wide, 8,000 linear-foot runway for the “fixed price” of US $15.9 million, because its equipment would already be in Antigua as part of a British-funded road works project.
The runway was originally to be 6,100 linear feet, 30 metres wide and cost US $14 million.
The prime minister said that the new measurements which were recommended by the Antigua & Barbuda Airport Authority (ABAA), were endorsed by BHM Co Ltd.
“They did say to us that it would be better getting the width right from the beginning, to accommodate bigger jets in the future,” Browne explained.
The Cabinet, however, rejected ABAA’s “grand” programme that would cost US $30 million and is clearly outside of the means of the country at this time, according to the prime minister.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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