Mottley lashes government awarding of contracts
(left) Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley and Paul Ashby (right), moderator of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) discussion. (Photo: Richard Grimes)
Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley is of the view the Freundel Stuart led administration is showing favouritism in the way in which it goes about awarding contracts to businesses in Barbados.
Though not calling any names, Mottley highlighted one developer in particular, saying it was unreasonable for a contractor to receive over $1 billion in investments.
“One man cannot get a $24 million contract at Valerie, $28 million housing contract at Grotto; a $42 million molasses storage tank, 20-year contract in the Barbados Bridgetown Harbour... Coverley which is over 1,100 houses at which the government is only receiving less than $2.50 a square foot on the land there; 2,300 lots at Bushy Park that have been committed to in an MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] but mercifully the contract has not been signed [by] the National Housing Commission to give them the lots.”
Mottley questioned whether government had forgotten its promise of 40 percent procurement for small businesses which was made when they first came into office, adding it appeared as though they were set on a path to run small businesses into the ground with their policies. Continuing to hone in on the unnamed contractor, Mottley said the favouritism was abundantly clear.
“...the Hyatt Hotel, the land at the Port where the cement plant has gone and there is a Town Planning dispute. Bushy Park Racing Circuit itself, the plot to sign businesses on the highway and I can go on and on. One person cannot get more than a billion dollars in contracts at the very time that Barbados has a smaller economy at the end of the decade than it started with at the beginning.”
She said in light of the physical landscape of Barbados and the limited number of construction investments, a lone developer “cannot get all”. She added there was a need for fair and transparent practices as well as a need to give ordinary Barbadians a chance.
Moving onto commercial banks, Mottley accused the entities of not offering decent rates on savings accounts as well as not allowing ordinary Barbadians to access capital with low interest rates.
“What we cannot have is the choking off of opportunities in Barbados for ordinary people, we believe, especially those who will be on the front line of any adjustment … government needs to have a policy of affirmative action to show that those who bear the brunt of the adjustment must be on the frontline of contracts and and supply of goods and services in this country.”