September 20, 2020

$1,397,000 public money wasted for a vacant lot

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Alastair Swarbrick, Cayman Islands Auditor General, in his latest report we highlighted last week, made especial mention of the poor management procedures the previous administration, the People’s Progressive Movement (PPM) had implemented resulting in over 5 million dollars on what was supposed to be the Beulah Smith High School in West Bay.

The Auditor General said the Central Tenders Committee accepted the contractors bid for the Beulah Smith High School in August 2008 but the ministry provided authority for the work to start before a contract was signed. Then two months later they had to stop work because of the downturn in the economy and government’s falling revenue.

“The Ministry did not protect the interests of the government by ensuring that there was a signed contract in place that would deal with unusual circumstances, such as the order to stop work,” he said.

As part of a negotiated settlement with the builder, government had to pay out  $1,397,000 for the work that was completed before the stop work order was issued.

“The importance of a Government-wide strategic framework for ensuring that the capital projects align with the government’s strategic objectives and policy priorities and for determining whether they are affordable is demonstrated by the expenditure incurred on the Beulah Smith High School project,” Swarbrick states in the report. “In this instance, the ministry incurred costs of $5.9 million before Cabinet decided that the project would not be completed. In the end, value-for-money was not achieved as significant monies were expended for what is now a vacant lot.”

Swarbrick also said the decision to allow work to start without an approved contract was a major problem that should not happen again.

 

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