Last week, at the House of Assembly, Premier Andrew Fahie defended his decision to use multiple contractors to repair the Elmore Stoutt High School, and fielded Opposition Leader Marlon Penn’s questions on the project’s funding, its status before he took office, and the Recovery and Development Agency’s role in the construction.
To speed up the process of reconstructing the L-shaped building on the ESHS campus, Mr. Fahie’s administration awarded contracts to different companies through local funding instead of sticking with the previous government’s plan to use Caribbean Development Bank loan funding to hire one contractor for the whole project, he said.
On Friday, Mr. Fahie said the project went through all the necessary criteria that would have been needed to secure the CDB funding, but he said local funding was the “most efficient way to move forward because the local funding had access right away.”
Had the government relied on CDB funding, the project’s expected completion date would have been in January, he said.
“Once I took office I quickly understood that proceeding with this project with this original design to engage a single contractor presented a significant risk for getting the school complete in time for the autumn term 2019,” he said.
Also according to Mr. Fahie, the previous government hadn’t made a decision on a bidder, and no contract was awarded before he took office in February.
Mr. Fahie expressed his concern about the role of the RDA, especially regarding the High Level Framework for United Kingdom Support.
“It is a very serious document and I cannot for the life of me understand how could we sign,” he said, adding, “How do we get back those authorities the government had that they just signed away to the UK?”
The premier said that some parts of the document are under re-negotiation.