Region Six REO should be sanctioned over bulldozer scandal

Dear Editor,

At the very first RDC Statutory meeting in January this year, the entire RDC Boardroom listened in shock to a narrative that an old decrepit bulldozer parked precariously outside of the RDC Compound actually belonged to the Region and was newly purchased for a whopping $15 million.

The REO wasted no time in claiming that she was not aware of the bulldozer since from all records it did not belong to the RDC since no money was paid. She further claimed that she had only heard about its ‘arrival’ at the said meeting when the issue was raised.  The REO was adamant that the bulldozer was not the property of the RDC. She further asserted that once the bulldozer was found to be defective, she would send it packing. Upon inspection it was found not only to be defective but it was not the bulldozer specified in the tender advertisement! This bulldozer arrived nearly 5 months after the contract was awarded to KP Project Management Company.

It was later revealed that 53% or $8 million of the purchase price was paid in advance before the bulldozer was supplied and the remaining sum of $6.8 million was paid in December, 2017 before the arrival of it. The REO is the Accounting Officer so it is alarming that she was not aware of these payments at the Statutory meeting in January. Did she not lie to the RDC? Later on the REO said that the supplier had agreed to repair the bulldozer even though it was not the bulldozer specified in the tender.  She had said also that the contractor gave a one-year warranty on the ‘junk’. Fortunately or unfortunately, this repair did not materialize as well. Another blatant lie?

Furthermore, this deal was rotten since the advertisement stage of the tender.  It was advertised in one newspaper only which is a breach of the Procurement Act. This  Act stipulates that this should be done in newspapers of wide circulation. The Auditors concluded that this was the reason for the receiving of only one bid. Moreover, the Auditors found several fundamental breaches which I have outlined in my letters to the press. In addition, they found that there was no security bond on the contract, the bulldozer supplied was not in accordance with specification, the chassis plate was tampered with, there were numerous defects and the contract did not provide for the $8 million advance payment to the contractor. When I had said that there was no bond the REO threatened to sanction me at the RDC meeting!

Ultimately a bond was secured but there was no new contract to support it as the Public Accounts Committee also discovered. When I raised the issue of this bond at the Statutory meeting on 7th June, 2018, the REO then told the RDC that they would secure the services of a lawyer to levy on the performance bond from Caricom General Insurance Company on 11th June. It is now clear from the report in the media that she tried to levy on the bond the same day I raised the issue at the RDC.

Unfortunately, from what the PAC has concluded the lies of the REO will cost the Region $14.8 million! The Region has no claim against KP Project Management Company!

From the inception, this bulldozer issue was shrouded in lies, secrecy and attempts to deceive the RDC. I am calling on the RDC to move a motion to sanction this REO and for the Minister of Communities to remove her from Office. She should do the honourable thing and resign forthwith!

Yours faithfully,

Haseef Yusuf

RDC Councillor Region 6

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