The previous administration was heavily criticized following audit reports on substandard work undertaken by many contractors in Region 2, that it condoned. Some of these contractors are still bidding for contracts. This unethical practice would have cost the Region million of dollars, since some of the projects collapsed while others had to be re-done including many streets, sluices and state buildings. It appeared that many of these projects had not been properly supervised, examined and evaluated by the relevant authorities before payment was made. It meant also that the administration had to submit additional budgetary claims to remedy some of the faulty projects, and hence other developmental work had to be withheld.
This notwithstanding, the present scenario has been gradually put into reverse with the timely intervention of the Regional Executive Officer Rupert Hopkinson, who has been demanding value for money on every conceivable contract undertaken by the Region. Such an approach has also gained much criticism since in some instances payment was withheld until proper verification could be done by officers, including the engineer. Mr Hopkinson has also ensured that technical officers visit sites regularly to ensure that they are completed based on specifications, and that the appropriate material is used to complete same. There were several instances where contractors used substandard and cheaper materials while undertaking contracts, yet they were paid and continued to enjoy the confidence of the previous administration. Complaints were also made by concerned citizens who were generally affected by substandard work, though little was done to address the issue. I am aware however that Mr Hopkinson is constantly engaging all contractors doing work with the Region to uphold principled and professional standards in the execution of their contracts. He has been very vocal in this regard, since it is his mandate to ensure that the residents of Region 2 receive the best in terms of the delivery of goods and services. In fact, he has implemented a register of contractors who will be constantly monitored in tandem with the regional Tender Board to ensure their performance is acceptable. Some were previously cautioned for long delays and even their inability to complete projects due to lack of appropriate equipment and labour.
Mr Hopkinson personally undertook to oversee some of the developmental works, including the creation of visiting parks, the landscaping of state compounds as well as along the roadways. The much admired planting of palm trees in front of the administrative building and along the main road are projects that have gained the personal attention of the REO. Accountability, transparency and due diligence are critical steps which have served to alleviate unnecessary and wasteful spending of scarce financial resources. This has been enhanced by the prudent management and pivotal direction of Mr Hopkinson. It is therefore to the satisfaction of the residents that Region 2 is progressing steadily, in particular with regard to stamping out corruption and having more resources at the administration’s disposal to undertake further development in the areas of education, agriculture, sports and health. In doing so Mr Hopkinson remains steadfast in demanding quality and due performance from every conceivable contractor.