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Munroe says new prison contract is FNM holdover

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe. Photo: Austin Fernander

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe. Photo: Austin Fernander

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune News Editor

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

NATIONAL Security Minister Wayne Munroe said it was the Minnis administration that initially awarded a no-bid, multi-million dollar contract to Walker’s Industries to build a high-medium security facility at the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services (BDOCS).

“I met Walker’s engaged,” he said yesterday. “Perhaps you should call Marvin Dames.”

Under the current legal regime, failing to open such projects to bids could put the government afoul of the Public Procurement Act. However, Mr Munroe said the Minnis administration signed off on it before the original procurement law came into force in September 2021. That law has since been repealed and replaced.

Mr Munroe said initially the project was expected to use the wagon-wheel design that was once the standard among corrections facilities.

“What they were looking at the wagon-wheel thing, when you priced it at pre-COVID, prices was $45m pre-COVID before supply chain interruption, without renewables,” he said.

The wagon-wheel design has since been nixed, and the Davis administration has expanded construction plans from a $40m high-medium facility to a $90m correctional institution, administrative, housing and medical facility.

Mr Munroe defended the administration’s decision not to open the project for bids once their plan expanded.

“Why would you,” he said, “go out to tender if you were going to select somebody to build something inadequate for $40m? Why would you suddenly go out to tender if the American Correctional Facility tells you what you have there won’t be certified? You’re missing two clinics. You’re missing special housing for psychiatric people. You’ve set it out wrong. If you accept that you could select a person to build an inadequate $40m design project, why would the fact when you design it properly you suddenly have to go out to tender?”

 Sources have told The Tribune that Walker’s Industries has no reputation for large-scale projects like the one slated for the BDOCS.

 Mr Munroe said the company specialises in electrical work critical to corrections facilities.

“It’s prefabricated steel cell and SteelCell, the US company who build these all over the US, they’re the contractor to put together the steel cells,” he said. “The other part of it is cable and control systems to open doors, to use spaces.”

 “When you look at the plan,” he continued, “the biggest part of the plan other than prefabricating the cells are the control systems, what people seem to say Walker’s do. The part that aren’t related to that basically are creating a concrete shell, putting in the water treatment, because we had to add the water treatment, and the solar stuff because we have a government policy on renewables.”

 East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson, the last state minister of finance in the Minnis administration, said yesterday he could not recall the Minnis administration signing off on a contract with Walker’s Industries for anything related to the BDOCS.

 “I can’t see that he’s saying he met something in place, but the work is supposed to start,” he said.

  Former National Security Minister Marvin Dames could not be reached for comment.

Comments

moncurcool 1 year, 1 month ago

Munroe really cannot be serious with what he is spewing. How incompetent if it is even so. The company not qualified, so rather than fix it, you just try blame another government? Seriously. We really in a banana republic. This what 50 years of independence producing?

Emilio26 1 year, 1 month ago

moncurcool I agree however the PLP should consider building the new prison on a cay or a scarcely populated island like Andros , Acklins & Crooked Island , Rum Cay or Mayaguana.

moncurcool 1 year, 1 month ago

I concur with that. Would help to build up the population and economy of another island.

Sadly, out MPs do not have the capacity to think like that once in government.

Sickened 1 year, 1 month ago

Shouldn't the people who specialize in electrical work for prisons be a sub-contractor... you know... to do the electrical work? Perhaps hire someone who specializes in construction to be... you know.... the lead contractor?

I would never hire a plumber to build a house. You hire a plumber to do the plumbing for the house.

TalRussell 1 year, 1 month ago

Best Summary and Analysis: --- Even this newspaper's having photographed the crown minister in his Sears Blue Polyester Suit, --- Actually does justice to the Fox Hill Prison Minister. -- Looking the all the ministerial more than his --- General confused! --- Yes?

rosiepi 1 year, 1 month ago

None of this makes no sense, for example: how many prisons, civil projects whatever has this company built, nada. And the Bahamian government expects this subcontractor to build a $90M prison complex with a single payment (from similar such mumbo jumbo printed here) of $9M??

John 1 year, 1 month ago

Obviously the company is fronting for another company, most likely a foreign company. And if Dames is involved, just make sure it’s not like the drones he bought for triple the price and even then they were not suitable for the conditions in The Bahamas. Since a ‘ modern prison facility has never been built in this country and since it was suggested somewhere that the building will be high rise or multi-floored, at least, one would expect that competent and experienced contractors will be used. And the bidding process does allow for Bahamian companies to partner with foreign companies, depending on who is providing the financing, but O, this contract never went out to bid. Just dropped in someone’s lap, apparently by Tight pants Marvin.

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