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Davis ‘Out Of The Loop’ On Botched Contract

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

PLP leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.

photo

Leslie Miller

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

FORMER Water and Sewerage Chairman Leslie Miller defended Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday insisting in many ways the former minister of works was “left out of the loop” regarding Nassau Island Development’s receipt of a $9.6m contract with the WSC under the previous Christie administration.

Mr Miller likened NID to “schoolboys” coming to the table with grown men, adding the company was way out of its league and should have never got the contract to construct the Gladstone Road Waste Water Treatment Plant (GRWWTP) to service Baha Mar.

Asked why the contract was not terminated for this reason, Mr Miller said it was well on its way when he became chairman of the WSC in 2016. However, he suggested the rookie company - which did not have the best bid when compared with other private entities vying for the job - may have had an ally in the Ministry of Finance who ensured the agreement was obtained and continued.

The former member of Parliament admitted to discussing the project with WSC’s General Manager Glen Laville but said he “washed his hands” of it after certain events took place.

This matter was uncovered last week after an Ernst & Young report into the corporation was tabled in the House of Assembly.

Despite a budget overrun of more than 80 percent, not since September 2016 has work been performed on the incomplete project, which was expected to receive and treat waste water from Baha Mar and return it for irrigation purposes.

According to the report, senior WSC officials were alarmed by how the project had gone off the rails, with Mr Miller saying in a 2016 WSC board meeting that the project had not been publicly declared “a stinker” only because it was “out of sight”.

“What took place there never should have happened,” Mr Miller told The Tribune yesterday. “The people who had it, they were out of their league. It was like schoolboys vs people with experience.”

He added: “Mr Davis never pushed it. That was pushed by the former board. Mr Davis wasn’t even aware of who had gotten the contract to be honest. That contract was given by the former board. In fact, he was trying to get it finished in the most amicable way and then all of a sudden, the Ministry of Finance went and gave them the million and after that the board just said ‘forget about it, just leave it alone.’ We never touched it after that.

“Mr Davis had nothing to do with it. Mr Davis was in fact left out of the loop from the beginning on that.

“The company also put in a claim of $1.2m and at that time they probably had owed the corporation about $3m to $4m. We rejected their claim and two days later they went down to the Ministry of Finance and got the money. After that I went and I raised hell with the financial secretary. I went and I spoke to the minister and I spoke to the permanent secretary. The minister spoke to the PS who objected against the money being given to them and after that I realised that I was out of my league so I just walked away from it. The whole board just said to hell with it.

“Who you think wrote the letter to the PS objecting to the payment? Mr Davis had to do it. He was the minister. I objected to it. The PS objected to it and Mr Davis objected to it. Yet the Ministry of Finance gave them the cheque.”

Mr Miller said he believes it would be in the government’s best interest to sell GRWWTP.

“The government now needs to make up its mind through the chairman and the board to go ahead and see if they can negotiate with another company, probably ISD, and let them purchase it because their bid was really the most qualified bid to do the job.

“Let them negotiate with Baha Mar. Let Baha Mar be responsibleFORMER Water and Sewerage Chairman Leslie Miller defended Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday insisting in many ways the former minister of works was “left out of the loop” regarding Nassau Island Development’s receipt of a $9.6m contract with the WSC under the previous Christie administration.

Mr Miller likened NID to “schoolboys” coming to the table with grown men, adding the company was way out of its league and should have never got the contract to construct the Gladstone Road Waste Water Treatment Plant (GRWWTP) to service Baha Mar.

Asked why the contract was not terminated for this reason, Mr Miller said it was well on its way when he became chairman of the WSC in 2016. However, he suggested the rookie company - which did not have the best bid when compared with other private entities vying for the job - may have had an ally in the Ministry of Finance who ensured the agreement was obtained and continued.

The former member of Parliament admitted to discussing the project with WSC’s General Manager Glen Laville but said he “washed his hands” of it after certain events took place.

This matter was uncovered last week after an Ernst & Young report into the corporation was tabled in the House of Assembly.

Despite a budget overrun of more than 80 percent, not since September 2016 has work been performed on the incomplete project, which was expected to receive and treat waste water from Baha Mar and return it for irrigation purposes.

According to the report, senior WSC officials were alarmed by how the project had gone off the rails, with Mr Miller saying in a 2016 WSC board meeting that the project had not been publicly declared “a stinker” only because it was “out of sight”.

“What took place there never should have happened,” Mr Miller told The Tribune yesterday. “The people who had it, they were out of their league. It was like schoolboys vs people with experience.”

He added: “Mr Davis never pushed it. That was pushed by the former board. Mr Davis wasn’t even aware of who had gotten the contract to be honest. That contract was given by the former board. In fact, he was trying to get it finished in the most amicable way and then all of a sudden, the Ministry of Finance went and gave them the million and after that the board just said ‘forget about it, just leave it alone.’ We never touched it after that.

“Mr Davis had nothing to do with it. Mr Davis was in fact left out of the loop from the beginning on that.

“The company also put in a claim of $1.2m and at that time they probably had owed the corporation about $3m to $4m. We rejected their claim and two days later they went down to the Ministry of Finance and got the money. After that I went and I raised hell with the financial secretary. I went and I spoke to the minister and I spoke to the permanent secretary. The minister spoke to the PS who objected against the money being given to them and after that I realised that I was out of my league so I just walked away from it. The whole board just said to hell with it.

“Who you think wrote the letter to the PS objecting to the payment? Mr Davis had to do it. He was the minister. I objected to it. The PS objected to it and Mr Davis objected to it. Yet the Ministry of Finance gave them the cheque.”

Mr Miller said he believes it would be in the government’s best interest to sell GRWWTP.

“The government now needs to make up its mind through the chairman and the board to go ahead and see if they can negotiate with another company, probably ISD, and let them purchase it because their bid was really the most qualified bid to do the job.

“Let them negotiate with Baha Mar. Let Baha Mar be responsible for it. If not, it’s going to be an eating sore on the backs of Bahamians.”

Last Wednesday evening, before tabling EY’s damning report of the water provider, WSC chairman, Long Island MP Adrian Gibson repeatedly suggested there was an “angel” in high places who ensured NID not only received a hefty contract for work with WSC, but saw to it that certain rules were relaxed.

The report also uncovered that a woman by the same name as the secretary in Mr Davis’ law firm, Merlene Poitier, was a nominee shareholder of NID.

Mr Davis, who admitted to being a guardian angel to many people over the years, was at the time deputy prime minister and works minister.

Responding to these matters and others related to the audit on Thursday, Mr Davis told reporters he only learned on Wednesday night that Mrs Poitier was a nominee shareholder of NID after the report was tabled in the House of Assembly.

Further, Mr Davis said he did not remember giving an order for WSC’s General Manager Glen Laville to authorise NID to receive an advance payment of $1.2m for work on the treatment plant.

He also said the report was biased and seemed to suggest there was something wrong with a minister, member of Parliament or otherwise making a recommendation for a company to receive state contracts. He went on to question the timing of the report’s tabling.

Despite the document’s completion months ago, it was just tabled last week as public concern for the $5.5bn Oban Energies deal proposed for Grand Bahama has spiked.

Further, Mr Davis said he did not remember giving an order for WSC’s General Manager Glen Laville to authorise NID to receive an advance payment of $1.2m for work on the treatment plant.

He also said the report was biased and seemed to suggest there was something wrong with a minister, member of Parliament or otherwise making a recommendation for a company to receive state contracts. He went on to question the timing of the report’s tabling.

Despite the document’s completion months ago, it was just tabled last week as public concern for the $5.5bn Oban Energies deal proposed for Grand Bahama has spiked.

Comments

stillwaters 5 months, 1 week ago

Miller zealously protected Perry and now Brave.

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BahamasForBahamians 5 months, 1 week ago

Thats it Leslie..

Sing for your supper!

You'll surely need Brave's help in getting another ratification so you better deflect and protect!

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ohdrap4 5 months, 1 week ago

is the supper at East Villa?

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themessenger 5 months, 1 week ago

Brave didn't know his secretary was working on da side neither, its called professional courtesy or honor among thieves.

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concernedcitizen 5 months, 1 week ago

The difference btw Oban and this ,Oban may bring money to our country ,,These deals like the quarry pit in Palmetto point are the PLP dreaming up ways to rob our treasury blind ,,I swear they stole billions btw 2012 and 2017 ,the PLP and FNM are not the same .Sure there have been crooks in the FNM but the PLP has become a well oiled criminal organization .

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months, 1 week ago

Nuttin but one big teef coverin' fa anudda big teef.

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SP 5 months, 1 week ago

A thief will never admit that his friend is also a thief!

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BMW 5 months, 1 week ago

These fellas aint got no shame at all!. He deflecting because he got his fingers in it some how. AMAZING. These crooks need to go to jail!!!!!! FFS

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BONEFISH 5 months, 1 week ago

Phillip Davis is a joke. He attempts to say he is unaware of this. Renew, Bamsi and how this situation.He should not be in Parliament. I can not see for the life of me why he was elected the leader of the PLP. The PLP seems to be incapable of reform

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

He needs a trip down Bank Lane ....... quick, fast and hurry

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DWW 5 months ago

Let the chips keep falling. So when are charges going to be filed or is the slippery snake going to slide?

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sealice 5 months ago

how many times can he use the same weak ars excuse and expect people, i mean educated NON plp people, to believe him?

What the hell were you doing for so many years besides being "out of the loop" on everything?

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sheeprunner12 5 months ago

Yep he always feigns ignorance ......... it's disgusting and irresponsible of a leader .......... he should be prosecuted for these on-going examples of dereliction of public duty.

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