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$12m Bill For Centre

By SANCHESKA BROWN Tribune Staff Reporter sbrown@tribunemedia.net DOCUMENTATION tabled in the House of Assembly revealed the government spent $12 million to build two new facilities at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre, nearly double the original contract signed under the previous administration. While answering questions fielded by the opposition in the House of Assembly, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said the government contracted Telco Enterprises Ltd for the completion of construction of the Robert Smith Child and Adolescent Centre and Special Education Unit at the Sandilands Rehabilitation Unit for just over $12 million. The original contract signed under the PLP in February of 2006 with Penn's Renovations and Construction totalled $7.1 million. The PLP has contended the contract was cancelled by the FNM for "political reasons" and given to an FNM contractor despite the company bidding nearly $1 million more than the other contractors. After cancelling the contract with Penn's Construction, the project was put to tender in August 2009. Five bidders were pre-qualified. However, according to Mr Ingraham, two companies withdrew their bids leaving Telco Enterprises bidding $8.1 million, Inline Projects Company bidding $6.5 million and Bro-Kell Construction bidding $7.4 million. Telco Enterprises was awarded the contract. Mr Ingraham defended the government's decision to hire Telco Enterprises saying they were following the advice of the Quality Surveyor JD Chisholm and Associates. A document tabled by the Prime Minister said Bro-Kell construction was disqualified due to "non-conforming to the bid documents" and Inline Company submitted the lowest bid and also submitted the shortest completion date of 38 weeks. Telco Enterprises, according the document, submitted the bid closest to the final project budget estimate and a schedule of 60 weeks - a bid more accurately conformed for the expect completion cost of the project. Mr Ingraham also refuted claims that the original contract with Penn's Construction was terminated because of political reasons but rather because their work was "sub-standard, shortcuts were taken and the project was not completed." Mr Ingraham said an independent report completed by Graphite Engineering indicated the air conditioning system was not properly installed, the plumbing work was of poor quality and not completed and the electrical conduits installed in the ceiling spaces were an unsightly mess. In addition, an inspection by Mac Ace Engineering indicated hurricane straps on the roof were incorrectly installed or missing and approximately 80 per cent of the roof requires correction or removal. According to the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Works and Utilities in a letter dated December 8, 2005 also advised the then PLP government not to accept Penn's bid because it would "run the risk of the contractor not completing the project or short-cuts being taken resulting in a sub standard project." However, the contract was still awarded to Penn's Construction despite the recommendation. Mr Ingraham also said the initial budget awarded to Telco Enterprises was increased from $8.1 million to $12.3 million to accommodate various works that were not included in the original scope of works. The project began in 2009 and has not yet been completed.

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