Arbitration Decision – Barbados Citizens Pay Extra $50 Million For Government Folly

UPDATED – September 14, 2006

Related BFP Story: BFP EXCLUSIVE – Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Problem-Plagued Office Building! 

Barbados National Housing Corporation – Crooks or Just Idiots?

“AN ARBITRATOR has awarded a construction company BDS$34,490,518 in a case against Government.

In fact, Government may have to pay as much as near $50 million after interest is added to that sum.

The case involves Barrack Construction Company Limited, the original (main) construction company in the problem-plagued new office complex in Warrens, St Michael, and National Housing Corporation (NHC)…..”

… article continues at The Nation News (link here).

Famous “Barbados Cost-Overrun” Only 361% For This Project!

Of course, according to The Nation Newspaper, the project isn’t yet finished. So don’t worry folks, we may yet hit the nominal 400% cost overrun calculation that seems to be standard when government and the NHC build anything – whether an office building or a beach washroom. Again from The Nation Newspaper…

“…The The five-storey office complex project began in 1998 with a 90-week construction deadline and a price tag of $36,334,793, but has run for eight years and is still to be fully completed.

The project started with an original $36 million, but costs have skyrocketed to over $80 million.”


Who Is Responsible For This “Special” Mess?

No wonder the Prime Minister took the National Housing Corporation away from Elizabeth Thompson – the Government Minister who had responsibility for the NHC during most of this debacle.

Hey, the new office complex is only six years late and 361% over budget – but what’s an extra hundred million dollars between friends? Good management costs money, but as the pummelled taxpayers of Barbados are discovering, bad management costs even more!


Filed under Barbados, Business & Banking, Politics & Corruption

39 responses to “Arbitration Decision – Barbados Citizens Pay Extra $50 Million For Government Folly

  1. John

    The PM is having visions too but not the same ones as others have been having.

    Hope he listens to the good folk and does the right thing.

    All tsunamis may not be real, physical events but their effect is the same, something gets washed away.

  2. Biscoe

    Wuh loss this project is a disgrace. But don’t blame poor Liz. She come and find it.

    Blame the geological survey that didn’t spot the massive subterranean cave right where the building was to go. Blame the Tenders Committee for awarding the contract to Al “Come Out Licking” Barrack who clearly did not have the constuction experience for this scale of work and had to call in Rayside to help him with the foundation.

    You could even blame the then Minister who should have shown greater leadership in resolving the issues caused by the unforseen foundation problems that put Barrack into trouble in the first place.

    But most of all blame the Cabinet for not coming out and letting us know what the problems were from the very beginning. Anybody who has ever built anything on this limestone rock will know that sometimes even with the best of planning you does meet something unexpected, In fact a friend of mine had the identical problem when he was building his own house.

    Bajans ain’t foolish. We know these things does happen, but don’t treat us like children. We deserve to know what is going on. It is our hard earned taxes that paying for this building.

  3. Velzo

    There is much, much more to this. David Thompson revealed in the House in a Budget reply that the mobilisation fee on this project was the highest – percentage wise – in the history of public projects.

    It was paid just before the 1999 election. We all know where a large chunk of it went! Liz was not the Minister at the time – don’t blame her this time.

    Gline Clarke – the scarlet pimpernel – was the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Housing and George Payne was the Minister.

    They were Al Barrack’s dynamic duo that helped him get the Kensington Project and mucho cookies.

  4. Robert

    I need to hear more about the Barrack connection with the Ministry of Housing and the NHC.

    Was’nt it Barrack that built the Ministry’s building in Country Road too? Was’nt there cost overuns on that project too? Is’nt the building now cracking all over?

    There is much more to the Barrack than meets the eye.

  5. John

    Liz got fired as minister of the environment in 1999 I think and refurned to the fold in 2001, not sure if it was as minister of housing.

    Who was the minister of housing when the project started in 1998?

    Was the environment lumped with housing and lands at the time?

    Looks like there could have been about four different ministers over the 8 year life span. Any political gurus, or someone who knows, that can name the ministers who oversaw this project?

    Which one will get his/her name on the plaque when the building finally opens?

  6. John


    Maybe the blame rests with TCPO and its minister for approving change of use of the land.

    It sits right in a water catchment which feeds the gully which leads to the Belle.

    Didn’t BS&T also suffer a collapse because of the caves when it was being built?

    Wonder why Cave Hill is called Cave Hill?

    Whoever gave permissions for change of use at Warrens maybe responsible for one hell of an environmental catastrophe if it is found that the industrial and commercial development there affects the quality of the drinking water at the Belle and Codrington to the point where it needs to be treated.

  7. Biscoe


    You raise an interesting point. My recollection is that development in this area started after completion of the ABC Highway post 1986. I think Simpson Motors was the first commercial development following on from C.O. Williams Electrical and Structural Systems which had already expanded around Warrens Great House. I am not sure when the Warrens Industrial Estate was built, but do not forget that BAT and the Bim Factory had been there for decades.

    The point is that the highway accelerated commercial growth in this area post 1986. So it was probably the Barrow/Sandiford Administration that oversaw the initial applications.

    It to be hoped that TCP would have taken water issues into account when this area was zoned for commercial use.

  8. John


    I think that if a contractor encountered conditions which were not considered in an engineer’s design, it would be the engineer responsible for the project who would have to find a solution, vary the design and instruct the contractor what to do.

    The contractor would come back with a quote on the probable cost of the variation and it would be for the client of the engineer, the GOB to decide if the cost, and the proposed solution, was acceptable or not. GOB could get another engineer’s opinion if it felt like, or even abandon the project altogether.

    I am not sure the blame for any variation in conditions would be the responsibility of the contractor alone. Perhaps the contractor was unable to carry out the works or did not take into account what would have been involved in the variation.

    Having said all this, the project stinks to high heaven. In many ways it is very similar to the scenario at Greenland, except that the conditions at Greenland are well known. The retrofit is expected to cost as much as it took to build the landfill. The variation arises because the original design and construction were compromised by the conditions.

    If you look carefully at the Simpson’s complex you will see that it is actually built in the watercourse itself. So too for that matter is the old Warrens Factory. Warrens Factory no longer operates but you can bet that it was built where access to water to make steam was easy. The old Great House is as about as close to the gully as you can get.

    Time will tell at the Belle!!

    Maybe the squatters are the least of the problem.

    Who will be responsible if the water at the Belle turns out to be negatively impacted and significant capital works need to done to correct it?

    Where exactly is the proposed nine storey building to be built? No doubt it has TCP permissions.

    The same principles that operate to cause heavy development on the coast to impact nearshore water quality also operate to cause heavy inland development to impact ground water inland, and ultimately the near shore water quality.

  9. Robert Dee

    Liz got fired as Minister of Health, when OA the PM deemed that she was rude to the Opposition Leader over a request for a visit to Greenland. Boy, some people unluckly.

    We have had four Ministers of Housing since 1994: George Payne ( who started both the NHC buillding at Country Road and Warrens and is reported to have very close links with Barrack); Bline Clarke (aka Gline); Elizabeth Thompson and now Reginald Farley assisted by Clyde Mascoll.

    I must say one thing for Minister Clarke; he did say that the mess at the Warrens site was a national disgrace. That did’nt help though. We now have a bigger mess – $130 million!

    That info should help you figure out who’s to blame.

  10. John

    I had clean forgotten about George Payne.

    Remember he called the Greenland landfill environmental madness and then disappeared off the radar in silence.

    Seems to have just melted into the background. We no longer even hear about his hats.

    Is he still an MP?

  11. Velzo

    Well yes and no! George is the MP and Dale still runs the office.

  12. John


    You mean Dale Marshall the Attorney General.

    But he is an MP too.

    Which office are you talking about?

    I know they are both lawyers.
    Do you mean they are in practice together?

    But if Dale is the AG he can’t be in private practice too.

    You gone over my head or I am very dense..

  13. george edghill

    i am a crook but the workers are just idiots

  14. ross

    oh oh! go ahead and say it, george edghill.

  15. J .D

    This Government is so corrupt I wish someone would really investigate the relation between barrack and george and the assets that pass hands.

  16. Velzo

    Dale goes to work at George WAlton Payne & Co. every day. Why do you think David Thompson stopped speaking in the House on a AG’s matter a few weeks ago? Dale said he had to visit someone in the hospital but was found exiting GWP where he was working while a big debate was taking place in the House.

    A lawyer was surprised to go to a meeting recently and find Dale there not as AG but as a partner of GWP.

    You think these guys nice? Or easy?

  17. Robert Dee

    If you look at the documents of the company Barrack you will find some of the names of some associates of GWP & Co. George Payne and Dale Marshall are partners in that firm too.

    I wish the so-called journalists in this country would do their jobs. If you talk to them they all know the full story, but they tell you it is the EDITORS. That is why we can’t read about any of this except here on BFP.

    Thank You BFP.

  18. BK

    dont pick on dale. MPs and Judges have maintained their private practices for years now. if we blowing the whistle lets start from the top and dont be partisan about it.

  19. Velzo

    There is a code of ethics for cabinet Ministers I assume.

    By the way, if we start at the top we will still be accused of being partisan because the man at the top stepped straight out of the Cabinet and into the post of Chief Justice. Unheard of anywhere!

    But when five wrongs make a right for people like BK, we are lost as a nation!

  20. ross

    BK, this is not about private practices alone, This is about corruption and the peoples fear to speak out.

  21. ross

    The local press and media need to take a stand and do thier job. We should not have to depend on a blog site to do their job, although I am glad we now have an outlet.

    Suppose the international press with their investigative journalists decides to do the job the local press has neglected, what do you think they will find?

  22. John

    So Dale is just following tradition.

    But if he is , he may very well be the next CJ given his position as AG now.


  23. cat eyes

    John, you are on target. Biscoe, the focus needs to be on what Barrack was instructed to do by the Government and the engineers employed by the Government, as well as the lax Government operatives overseeing the project and ultimately the lousy Cabinet that would have received reports and acted as dense as pitch.
    Grief is, Barrack had a wiley legal firm headed by a wily little lawyer and former Housing Minister who hates Oh When. Add it up.
    I will share more of my verifiable and legal research later.

  24. BK

    Perhaps we need the DLP to include in their manifesto that the ancient libel and slander laws need to be refreshed. The environment needs to be enabled to encourage the speaking out you are all talking about. Unless we have any sacrificial lambs for takers?

  25. John

    Doesn’t the office of the attorney general defend Government against law suits?

    Is it because the NHC is a statutory corporation that this did not happen in this particular case?

    If it is not so, why are we not hearing Dale Marshall’s name called as the AG representing Government against Barrack?

    If it is so, could someone versed in the protocols for statutory corporations and Government please comment on this specific situation?

    Things are not adding up here.

  26. John

    Heavenly Father, and I thought it was just because I was simple that I just could not understand the workings of what went on at Warrens.

    Even the PM is at a loss and his minister of housing is taken aback.

    Did anyone hear Minister Farley a couple of nights ago say that in future, all contracts would be monitored closely. What was going on at the NHC before now?

  27. Robert Dee

    BK, it was in the DLP manifesto in 2003.

    They promised to: “Review the laws on defamation to give greater freedom to the press and populace to hold public figures more accountable”

    As Mr. Thompson said recently, the DLP is on record with most of the concerns of the Barbadian public. A look in the 1999 and 2003 manifestos would be truly eyeopeners for us all.

  28. BK

    Ok Robert thanks for reminding me. Lets see how it plays out.

  29. Robert Dee

    BFP and the rest of us bloggers should have some good fodder next week. The DLP is starting a series of political meetings on Sunday night and is promising to lay out an alternative vision.

    I don’t know about you but I can’t wait.

  30. Velzo

    How could the Minister of Housing and the Prime Minister not know the size of the claim? Certain aspects of it were agreed to by NHC’s lawyer. Didn’t the Board aprove? What madness is going on?

  31. Pingback: BFP EXCLUSIVE - Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Problem-Plagued Office Building! « Barbados Free Press

  32. Observer

    No BS&T building dib not collapes because of caves below. A proper survey was done of the area which found a huge cave below, and was put use as a 250,000 gallon cistern. This involved sending piles deep below and building a reinforced structure to capture the rain water coming off the main building. The incident that you may be to referring is something completely different.

  33. Observer

    Don’t you see this building will be ready for World Cup 2007 and it will be used as a hotel.

  34. John


    Sheer genius. Use as a hotel would solve the accommodation dilemma for world cup. All we would need to know given what has transpired is who will get the contract for its operation, …. and how.

    I seem to recall during construction that there was an accident when BS&T motors was being built and always heard it was due to the underground caves. Wasn’t someone injured too?

    The point is that the fissured nature of the coral in the area provides an easy flow to perhaps the underground water extracted at the Belle and Codrington and may lead to contamination from the heavy development at Warrens.

  35. Eudora

    Dear All

    Is there a water meter at the Warrens building? If there is is it connected?

  36. Robert Dee

    What secrets, if any, does George Payne hold over Owen Arthur?

  37. Jerome Hinds


    News coming to hand……..indicates that 7th Jan 2008 is likely to be the date for the handing down of judgement on the Al Barack – Warrens Building case !


    * The judge making the decision is Madame Justice Cornelius……a former campaign Manager of Liz Thompson !

    * Liz Thompson is a former Minister of the NHC……at a point in time during the Warrens building construction !

    * Owen Arthur up to 18th December 2007….was asking Al Barrack to settle ” out of COURT ” !

    ** Al Barack VEHEMENTLY refused !

    ** Owen turned to the COURT for a DECISION !

    Who will it FAVOUR…….in the midst of a GENERAL ELECTION campaign ?????

  38. Pingback: Al Barrack gets it wrong again – it’s not racism, it’s business as usual « Barbados Free Press