'Red flags’ raised on recovery work


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE Disaster Reconstruction Authority is in the process of investigating several contracts that were issued to manage debris management sites in Abaco and Grand Bahama after “red flags” were detected from comparisons between the large sums of money paid out and the work that was actually done.

This is according to DRA executive chairman Alex Storr yesterday, who told The Tribune that a request would also be made of the government to conduct a forensic audit of the programme, which was launched in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian that destroyed portions of both islands.



In recent days, two contractors have come into question. One of them was contracted for work in Grand Bahama, while the other for work in Abaco.

Among the contractors, Mr Storr confirmed, was a former Free National Movement senator and their spouse.

In an interview yesterday, Mr Storr said the DRA’s board was left with questions after conducting surprise visits at certain sites.

“Those contracts we are looking at the $400,000 was in reference to a contract on Grand Bahama and the story with the $300,000 is Abaco,” Mr Storr said when contacted. “But what it actually is is they have contracts to manage the debris management sites.

“Now the contracts are not for a set amount. What they do is they bill monthly for the work and I have to be careful how I say this. They bill monthly for work that is supposedly done and so sometimes the amounts for different sites could be around $150,000 and sometimes, as in the case of Grand Bahama, the amount skyrocketed to $400,000 or even $500,000.”

Asked if these contracts raised red flags, Mr Storr said: “There were numerous red flags.

“For instance, there is a site on Abaco. That contractor, when he billed monthly, he would provide a shared drive that we could upload and see pictures of each truck that came into the site, licence plate numbers the quantity of the load and such.

“On some of these other sites that we are concerned about they provided no such documentation. They just sent in the bill and were paid or in some cases expecting to be paid.”

He also said: “And let me say that we paid a surprise visit as well as we made an official visit to these sites and, in particular one of the sites, when we compared what we saw on the site to what was being billed, it didn’t line up.”

He said the sites in Grand Bahama have been discontinued, but what was billed did not, in his opinion, coincide with what officials saw at one of the sites.

“The sites on Grand Bahama have been discontinued, but when we look at the history of billing, it’s not in line with what we see at the site and for example on the properly managed site on Abaco you can see active work going on.

“You can see where the debris is being sorted, we would have organic debris metal, plastics and such, but on these sites that were abandoned on Grand Bahama the debris has not been sorted and it’s simply as if trucks just pulled up and dumped debris and left it.”

This is the second revelation to come out of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) this week.

On Monday it was revealed that former DRA managing director Katherine Forbes-Smith is suing the authority for $408,333.16 for breaching her contract after she was fired from her position last year.

According to a writ, the DRA agreed to pay Mrs Forbes-Smith an annual salary of $110,000 in monthly instalments of $9,166.66 and an annual housing allowance of $30,000 in monthly instalments of $2,500.

The contract also stipulated an annual duty allowance of $15,000 in monthly instalments of $1,250 and a monthly fuel allowance of $250.

At the end of that contract, Mrs Forbes-Smith was entitled to receive a gratuity of 15 percent of the sum received under the contract.

It is something that Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder claims is “shameful” because he suggests that certain duties are unfulfilled in storm ravaged Abaco while the former managing director of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority allegedly took home an “extravagant” salary.

Mr Storr has also claimed that in his opinion Mrs Forbes-Smith’s salary was not a good use of taxpayers’ money.


tribanon 1 year, 7 months ago

Very self-serving remarks from Alex Storr as the DRA executive chairman. The fraud-ridden DRA should be disbanded and shutdown altogether before he too starts to get "get rich quick" ideas like so many others who are now trying to onboard the corrupt Davis led gravy train.

As for Katherine Forbes-Smith, the government should be filing a counter-claim against her to recover some of the ill-gotten compensation she received at the expense of taxpayers. She clearly failed to live up to her obligations under the terms of the absurdly generous 'contract' she received with Minnis's approval. In fact, the outrageous terms of the 'contract' are such that any court should declare it void ab initio.


realfreethinker 1 year, 7 months ago

More distraction. Alex Storr is executive chairman which means he is getting a nice hefty salary and perks. i hope he disclose how much he and the other 2 top managers are getting. He claims that the 2 managers are making less than Ms Smith but I am sure when you add it all up it's more than that overly generous contract she had.


TalRussell 1 year, 7 months ago

I bet de thousands of gone from life's confronts to rags Abacoians and Freeporters, so happy for Sister Mrs. Forbes-Smith's, getting paid annual salary in monthly instalments of $9,166.66 and an annual housing allowance of $30,000 in monthly instalments of $2,500 plus an annual duty allowance of $15,000 in monthly instalments of $1,250 and a monthly fuel allowance of $250...Knowing de Sister, earned every red penny provide her wit de very best life can offer...Sometins' which Hurricane Dorian, had and still continues robbing off de Abacoians and Freeporters.
Comrades, no need be creative by having to make this stuff up. This is documenting de actual earnings by de unapologetically politically appointed,..And, they has de disaster to sue make sure they are rightfully paid every red penny,― Yes?


LastManStanding 1 year, 7 months ago

Both the PLP and FNM are malignant tumors doing their best to kill off the Bahamas. At the end of the day, you cannot assign all the blame to them though considering that the Bahamian electorate never pulls their collective head out of their ass to at least vote for someone different. There really is nothing left to lose at this point, you know what you are going to get with either set of goons, so at least try someone new for a change.

Any right thinking Bahamian should be praying that the next storm to pass our way blows both the FNM and PLP so far out to sea that they cannot do any further harm to this country. I am so sick of these buffoons talking bullshit about we need more taxes while continually pissing away the money that we give them. There is a special place in the lower circles of Hell reserved for Bahamian politicians and their cronies who are good for nothing but leeching off of the hard work of others.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 7 months ago

Why does this entity still exist? Its like the national training agency. Just ineffective inefficient non strategic duplication of effort


Bigrocks 1 year, 7 months ago

So, the DRA lives up to its namr. DISASTER. The only thing that got real relief was the head of the department..


The_Oracle 1 year, 7 months ago

When created the first minister was appointed "Minister of Disaster" which I though was most appropriate. And here we are. For 50 years the Government has entrenched the gravy train mentality, and we expect different behavior? It is completely institutionalized. Until a government, any government, is willing to prosecute its own appointees and elected for wrong doing it will remain the glue that binds them together at the expense of the country and citizen. If a Government administration held its own to account, there would be no need for the 2-3 years worth of witch hunting by the ensuing party. witch hunting to no apparent end.


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