The Member of Parliament for the sister island of Barbuda, Trevor Walker, has staunchly defended the cost of the new $2.9 million River Wharf Dock in Barbuda, amidst strong criticism that government paid less for the multi-million dollar facility.
“All the funds that were allocated for the project were spent on the project. I am not aware of anything that happened otherwise,” Walker told OBSERVER media.
His comments came after Chairman of the Barbuda Council Arthur Nibbs raised an alarm over the issue.
Nibbs on Tuesday said he had reasons to believe less was paid to sub-contractor Devcon Company Limited to construct the dock.
Devcon Limited was responsible for the construction of the dock while the Antigua Masonry Products (AMP), handled the preparatory work.
The chairman said he conducted his own independent analysis and found there could be missing funds.
“We were told only about US $600,000 was paid to the contractor so there is a balance out there somewhere; so we are trying to get the minister, Trevor Walker, to come and make a public statement and give us a breakdown of that $2.9 million,” Nibbs said.
Criticisms were also levelled that the dock should not have been handed over before dredging work was completed after reports surfaced that the depth of the water around the dock was too shallow, thereby preventing many boats from utilising the facility.
Walker said that situation would be remedied in the very near future and the work will be done by a Barbudan company.
“We are hoping to start that work within the next ten days or so and, based on the schedule this person has given us we are looking for a completion time of less than one week,” he said.