By NATARIO McKENZIE
THE Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) yesterday said it is "not at war" with the Minister of Works, and will resubmit its nominees for the Contractors Board before the the week's end. Leonard Sands, the BCA president, told the Association's monthly luncheon yesterday that it had been only been informed through the media that its original recommendations had lacked the necessary variety.
Desmond Bannister, minister of works, last week blamed the BCA for the delay in implementing regulation of the Bahamian construction industry, saying he "detests" how its president is talking to him through the media.
Mr Bannister said the failure to implement the Construction Contractors Act was due to the BCA's seeming inability to nominate private sector members of the Board that will oversee its enforcement. And, until the Board is appointed, the regulations that accompany the Act and give it enforcement teeth cannot be finalised and implemented.
The BCA is supposed to nominate six members from various disciplines within the Bahamian construction industry, but Mr Bannister said the only submission it made lacked the necessary variety. He told Tribune Business that the BCA had yet to submit revised nominees since the rejection of that first list four to five months ago.
"We're not at war, we're not at odds," said Mr Sands yesterday. "The BCA recognises that our relationship must be one of open correspondence, communication, understanding and discourse for our agenda to be achieved.
"The BCA have made attempts to sit down and discuss with the Minister of Works, via e-mail and letter hand delivered to his office. We can only hold the view that someone or something is happening to our correspondences. We have letters not responded to dating from August 2, 2017, to January 29, 2018. I am not blaming the Minister for this."
Mr Sands added: "We are giving him the benefit of the doubt and saying maybe he never got the correspondence. We all want one thing. We want the establishment of the Construction Contractors Board, which is the final piece to the legislation, and which the BCA and the Minister of Works have to come together and appoint.
"We have submitted names we felt qualified to sit on the Board. We were informed through the press that the names we submitted do not reflect enough industry representation. We will resubmit the names before the end of the week, and the Minister will have everything he needs to move forward."
Mr Sands also took the opportunity to reiterate concerns over this nation's accession to full World Trade Organisation (WTO) membership, and its potential impact on the construction industry.
He previously told Tribune Business that it was "beyond urgent" that the Construction Contractors Act be enforced, as the absence of regulation left the $2 billion industry totally exposed to being overwhelmed by foreign competition within two years if the Government's World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession target is met.
"If we act now and address the matter, we can limit the possible impact. The BCA is about finding the opportunities that exist and exploiting them to the benefit of its membership. We should have a national approach to WTO accession," said Mr Sands yesterday.