Contractors urged to maintain standards of their profession

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Minister of Public Works the Hon. Desmond Bannister addressed contractors at a May 30 seminar at St. Joseph's Parish Hall. (BIS Photos/Derek Smith)

The Government and its partners, namely contractors, have a “critical” role in ensuring that the annual capital development allocation of approximately $120 million for the Ministry of Public Works is “efficiently” expended in a way that ensures the degradation and deterioration throughout the country are not continued. Public Works Minister the Hon. Desmond Bannister informed contractors of this in his address at the recent first-ever Contractor’s Seminar. He said his Ministry is hoping for a $130 million in the 2018/2019 budget allocation and, if granted, he would like to spend every cent on contractors.  “We want to make a difference and we know you are counting on the Ministry,” he said. Minister Bannister remarked that there are “interesting” developments on the horizon in the construction industry. The two most pressing namely the commencement and enforcement of the Contractor’s Act, and the Ministry of Finance’s E-Procurement. The theme for the seminar was “Information for Effective Private-Public Sector Interaction.” Sessions during the one-day event were led by Melanie Roach, Ministry of Works Director; Robert Mouzas, Deputy Director; Hugh Hoford, Chief Quantity Surveyor; Timothy Johnson, Chief Architect and representatives of the Department of Information Technology.  Sessions included: Pre-qualification Documents and Assessment Criteria, E-Procurement, Contract Pricing and Payment Procedures, Project Management and Site Safety, and the Construction Contractor’s Act. Minister Bannister told the contractors that the seminar was “critical” for the Ministry and for their profession.

“We have an amazing team of professionals at the Ministry of Public Works. You are going to see them doing all kinds of innovative things to make a difference to the professionals that we serve,” he said. “We are not going to forget that we serve professionals. At the same time, we are going to hold you to the highest standards of professionalism. We recognize that you are professionals and we expect you to be professional. He advised the contractors that the success of the Ministry of Works rests in their hands as private sector partners. “We don’t build anything. We partner with you so that you can make a difference in our country.” The contractors were warned that the construction profession is not going to be the “wild, wild west.”  “Your profession has determined the standards that will apply to you and it’s going to be important to live up to those standards that you as professionals have determined apply to you.  Secondly, with respect to E-Procurement and all of the other procurements that will be put in place, there is not going to be the ability to come to the minister and say I want a contract. The tendering process we are going to put in place [is] so that you will professionally make your submissions, those who have the better submissions, and those who are making a difference are going to be able to get those contracts.”

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