BFP EXCLUSIVE – Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Government Office Building!

“What do you expect when Government habitually hands out contracts worth tens of millions of dollars over dinner and martinis, with never a public tender issued?”

…insider source talking to Barbados Free Press about the $50 million dollar arbitration decision against the National Housing Corporation.

No Public Tender Issued

Barbados Free Press has just learned that no tenders were ever issued for the primary construction of the National Housing Corporation’s Warrens, St. Michael office complex that is at the centre of the largest arbitration award in Barbados history.

The background to the arbitration award can be found in our earlier story, Arbitration Decision – Barbados Citizens Pay Extra $50 Million For Government Folly

BFP’s source states that Barrack Construction Company Limited, the original (main) construction company in the problem-plagued new office complex, was awarded the contract “without a tender call” and “without having the contract reviewed thoroughly by government contract lawyers.”

It was a “hastily thrown-together contract” that allowed Barrack to “easily win at arbitration” – according to our source.

Why Were Government Lawyers Not Asked To Review Barrack’s Contract?

Why indeed? Could it be that those issuing a major contract without public tender did not want to expose the process to outside scrutiny?

And the end result is that the people of Barbados will have to pay another FIFTY MILLION DOLLARS in part because of defects in the contract!

Did Prime Minister Arthur Approve This Deal… Or Not Know About It? He Can’t Have It Both Ways!

Which is it, Prime Minister? Did you know and approve of the issuing of the contract without a tender, or is everything so out of control that a one-hundred-million dollar contract can be issued without your approval?

Can’t have it both ways, Sir!

Much More To Come…

Who actually signed the contract? Who negotiated the no-tender deal on both sides? Who created the contract… the government representatives or the contractor?

And what about the company that took over after Barrack walked off the construction site in mid-job… was there a tender issued there, or just another sweetheart deal?

Stay tuned, folks… You ain’t seen nothin’ yet!


Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Politics & Corruption

37 responses to “BFP EXCLUSIVE – Another Barbados Scandal: No Tenders Issued For One Hundred Million Dollar Government Office Building!

  1. cat eyes

    But remember, the minister of housing at the time of the issuance of the contract was attorney at law George Walton Payne. The law firm of George Walton Payne and associates represents Barrack. How do you have transparency when the minister would definitely have knowledge of the contract, flaws and all, thus allowing Barrack to have an “out” should any merde hit the fan. Why would you instruct and ensure your staff in Government vett your crony’s contract when you know that if there is any fallout your company will reap the sweets? It was really a situation of putting the cat to watch the milk.
    Was the Country Road office, also built by Barrack put out to tender?
    Was the contract to build some of the low to middle income housing in St. Thomas etc (under George as Minister) put to tender? Barrack built some of those as well under George as Housing Minister.
    What I am saying here is known by hundreds of Barbadians you know. It is just that for the first time ever we have been afforded an opportunity to discuss these things publicly.
    I pray they do not do anything to stop the BFP or that they trace your operatives and interfere with them professionally or otherwise. I personally know this government is capable of anything. And while they may not shut down the site, they could make things so untenable for you personally that you are forced to give up. That’s the way they are.

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  3. BFP

    Thank you for your kind words, Cat eyes.

    We use proxies to appear to be posting from all over the world, but yes, with the full power of a nation state, the Government of Barbados may yet discover who we are, or attempt to shut us down by going to our internet service providers.

    Without a truly free and responsible press on Barbados, it would then be back to the old days.

    Nation Newspaper… why didn’t you break this story?

    Advocate, VOB, CBC….. Why are you all failing in your public duty?

    Barbados Free Press should not even be needed, but without a truly free media on the island, BFP is all we have.

    Keep praying, Cat eyes. Keep praying.

  4. honeybee

    Cat Eyes, what you say is very disturbing. One of the big problems in Barbados is that most people know these things but the evidence is very difficult to obtain. Nobody knows who to trust when so many are on the take.

    Even if the evidence is available what use is it anyway unless it gets into the hands of good people who can do the right thing with it.

    I do not understand what is stopping our media from doing thier job. We have good people there.

    We are appreciating a taste of freedom for the moment by being able to relieve some of our pent up frustration through BFP but we do not know how long this will last either.

    Keep praying.

  5. Pat

    My sweet Jesu! Was the Honourble Minister not in a conflict of interest position? Does the Honourable former Minister Payne own shares in Barrack? Does he have family with interests in or working for the company? As a lawyer and the Minister at the time of contract issuance, surely knowledgeable in the law, he could have reviewed it himself for flaws? Or did the Honourable former Minister Payne include the flaws purposely? I am not a lawyer, but I studied Contract Law in my program at uni. Even I could have done a better job.

    Please can someone in the know tell me how I can get some of this easy, easy money?

  6. cat eyes

    I do not know if your query was rhetorical or not Pat, but up until 2002 GWP had interests in Barrack Construction. BFP, here are the facts. I hope you have time to read:
    Barrack started the Warrens project in June 1998. Errol Clarke Associates Ltd carried out the tests of the topsoil on behalf of the NHC. He said solid stone would be found at about 3 ft below the topsoil on the site. He then designed a strip foundation for Barrack to build on. Barrack said that based on what was given in the contract drawings by Errol Clarke he would finish the building in seven months. By August 1998 he had excavated more than 3 ft below topsoil and found no stone. He was instructed by Errol Clarke Associates to dig some more.
    He said he did so but did not have suitable conditions for a much of the foundation. By November the NHC decided they would do a soil investigation using boreholes. They hired Mahy Chaderton and Ridley, consulting engineers; Dr. Alwyn Wharton, a geophysicist from UWI and SB Testing and Engineering Ltd.
    According to sources, Barrack suggested that the work be suspended pending the outcome of the borehole thing. Errol Clarke and company insisted tat the five storey building could be built on strip footings and isolated column bases.
    Despite NHC’s instruction to the other engineers, Barrack said they were instructed to continue digging and he did. He continued digging to more than 40 ft and found caves, ravines, clay and decomposed coral.
    In March 1999 Mahy Chadderton and Ridley sent a report to NHC which in part, said:
    “The programme of testing has established that the strength of the substrata at the site varies significantly. No apparent pattern to the variation was identified. The most significant feature is that even though the surface material is relatively strong it is underlain in many area, by softer strata. It therefore would be counter productive to excavate deeper in an attempt to reach more sound stratume unless one plans installing very deep foundations. We recommend that it would be prudent to consider the form of foundation selected for this building. We suggest that it would be advantageous to provide a raft foundation for the entire structure.”
    NHC accepted the recommendation and Errol Clarke Ass. was instructed to build a raft foundation which began in December 1999.
    Check the passage of time.
    The rest of what transpired was made public each year as costs escalated by the millions anually. The managers, ie the government, needed to cut their losses in this project and find somewhere else for a site. Why with all this evidence at its disposal did Owen Arthur and his cabinet continue with this project on this spot? It was obscenely expensive to continue unless someperson or persons had an ulterior motive to skim money. It is very clear there was one.
    This debacle just points once again to the gross mismanagement of this country’s money by this government. We must remember GEMS; Greenland; St. Leonards; Country Road and all other over budget projects and mismanaged money. If the DLP cannot find 26 people, even if they are dumb blondes, to do a better job than this bunch, we need to shut down our education system and declare it condemned.

  7. John

    The land sure sounds like good agricultural land to me!! I remember the mountain of topsoil dug out.

    Maybe the guy who gave change of use needs to have his head examined!!

    The caves and ravines found sound like they provide good drainage, but to where. If to the Belle underground water, it would seem to me to be almost criminal to have proceeded with any development at Warrens.

    Who owned the land at Warrens when it got change of use?

    Maybe they will eventually send the guy to the psychiatric.

  8. John

    Lets see, so far we have Owen, Gline, George, Hammie-la and Dale as potential competitors for the “Piggies at the Trough” award.

    Maybe BFP could start a vote counter so that us voters could vote for the MP who is most deserving of the award!!

    As more comes to light, more names could be added to give as many MP’s as possible the opportunity to win the award, all based on what we voters feel.

    Guess the DLP might feel left out so why not ask for nominations from us voters to add names to the list of competitors.

    Any nominations would need to be supported by some input as to why the nominator feels the particular MP deserves to get into the running of being considered for the award.

  9. Alex

    The more that is revealed the murkier the waters appear. Is it true that this was the first contract of this magnitude for Barrack? Was the mobilisation fee paid by government to Barrack the biggest in history? How did they qualify for the award of the contract?

    Why was Barrack given this contract when the one for the NHC building at Country Road was already in trouble?

    I suppose we the taxpayers are paying to learn!
    Thompson’s (DLP) promise of a Contractor General seems a very good idea to me.

  10. Velzo

    That’s not all.. Cat eyes. Its much worse. Owen Arthur is less than truthful or incompetent whe he says that the award surprised him. The NHC has a Board and the Board knew. They instructed their Attorneys to agree with certain parts of the Barrack claim that well exceeded $17 million.

    The thing about it is that this is just a big bunch of BLP criminals fighting with each other.

  11. Velzo

    Just got word that this will be a big issue at Sunday night’s DLP meeting in Quakers Road, St. Michael at 7.00 p.m.

  12. Trueblue

    I am told the Barrack did not prequalify for the contract. Is this true?

  13. BK

    I think that land in Warrens use to be owned by Edghill a retired lawyer, Moses and in recent times Merchandani. I will have to double check.

  14. West Side Davie

    I think that the BFP had a good idea for the DLP about the integrity legislation. If the DLP is serious, they should immediately declare integrity standards for their candidate. Never mind that it is not law. Declare it for DLP candidates and personnel. That would put the “STFU” right in the BLP face.

  15. Littleboy56

    Just another to add to the corruption list of the Barbados Labour Party.
    Mia did the same with Edutec contracts.
    The Barbados Water Aothority imports water pipe through Plastics Plumbing (owned by Owen Arthur’s sidekick).
    The BLP “bag-man”, Hallam Nicholls, “sources vehicles for government at a healthy 10%.
    TheHammy-la $12,000.00 ackee tree is still bearing fruit…the list goes on
    Bring back the Democratic Labour Party,please. They made some mistakes, but at least they are not corrupt!!

  16. Banned

    To get this issue on the call in programs all some one has to do is call and test any of the blow hard moderators/ trumpeters with a question. A question is just that, a question, and cannot be considered libelous. For example, “Mr. Ellis was George Payne a share holder in Barrack?” or “Mr. Johnson (I-specialist, the only person alive capable of using the word I fourteen (14) times in one minute without stuttering) is Barrack Construction a client of George Payne and Associates” The question(s) will be broadcast and these self promoted gurus will be embarrassed into addressing the issue in public, all be it for a few fleeting moments. And if the questions result in follow up calls from listeners, there may be the odd chance that a Minister would be prompted to try to clear the air. I wish I could do it, but sadly no, I am banned.

  17. Rumplestilskin

    Is it true that Noel Lynch called a call in programme today and said that the arbitrator should be investigated for the award??

    This arbitrator is the same person who was castigated in the decision in the 8% case, for his decision. As you should know, the case went to Privy Council, who supported his decision based on LAW!!! A highly respected jurist, he makes decisions on law NOT ON POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY!

    And can the Minister of Tourism explain why accounts have not yet been laid before the public re the GEMS project???

    It is not true that at least one of the hotels was purchased by Government for a figure ten million more than it was valued literally a couple years previous??? And no accounts, no valuations presented to the public? Hmmph….

    Have any properties been purchased by GEMS recently??? For what price???

  18. Rumplestilskin

    Is it true that Noel Lynch called a call in programme today and said that the arbitrator should be investigated for the award??

    This arbitrator is the same person who was castigated in the decision in the 8% case, for his decision. As you should know, the case went to Privy Council, who supported his decision based on LAW!!! A highly respected jurist, he makes decisions on law NOT ON POLITICAL EXPEDIENCY!

    And can the Minister of Tourism explain why accounts have not yet been laid before the public re the GEMS project???

    It is not true that at least one of the hotels was purchased by Government for a figure ten million (16million vs 4 million) more than it was valued literally a couple years previous??? And no accounts, no valuations presented to the public? Hmmph….

    Have any properties been purchased by GEMS recently??? For what price???

  19. Rumplestilskin

    Although Minister Lynch may just be following Government ‘spinning technique’ of appointing an enquiry of anything that reflects badly on its percieved management or lack thereof….at a cost of hundreds of thousands to the taxpayers, with no final report published…

    BLP technique if in doubt…appoint a commission of enquiry to distract public attention……

    check back and see if I am wrong…

  20. Rumplestilskin

    Unfortunately, despite promises and promises, the three term tenure of this Government will go down in history as follows:

    1) Big ideas with no follow through and inept Management from the PM down.

    e.g. blatant example – Greenland is over 12 years old now and still not functional. The Minister was changed, but ultimately the PM should foot the responsibility, as the main decision maker and Head Of Cabinet, as head of the Government, for any major public ‘event’ he holds ultimate responsibility.

    However, his way of dealing with things is to change a Minister or appoint a commission of enquiry to shoulder the responsibility, thereby getting rid of his own (in the perception of the public)…passing the buck.


    2) Inequitable land distribution and the demotion of Barbadians in their own land …to second class citizens.

    While some would arue that market forces should rule, the plain fact is that many Barbadians cannot now own land and it is left to the big developers and people with connections to rea[ the fruits of the toil opf our ancestors.

    Neither Barrow or Adams would have allowed this..plain and simple!

    3) Rising and unreasonable food prices, in the midst of a buyout of major distribution lines by a single entity….which would never have been allowed in another country.

    But then, is the Chairman of the entity not close friends (even a knighthood) with the PM?

    Further to the above;

    – the current ‘mortgaging’ of Barbados to fund CWC and flyovers (figure a total of half a billion dollars) will cause us untold economic problems down the line.

    – the arrogance now setting in (Mia’s reference to regulations of blogs etc, Government’s refusal to accept an independent decision to the point of attacking the arbitrator, Government’s refusal to listen to engineers etc re flyovers (and Greenland before)

    this arrogance is a sign of a Government in decline….FAST..

    By the way…note how they are pushing housebuilding in the papers…….yup the campaigning has started in earnest…corn beef and biscuits…..

    See ya…

  21. Rumplestilskin


    Can the Minister of Tourism explain that why under his Ministry so many Barbadian hotels are calling it quits and converting to condos?

    Is Government policy not able to ensure the continued viability of Hotel tourism in Barbados?

    Apart from a few elite hotels, is Hotel Tourism in Barbados DEAD???

  22. John

    I have watched Noel Lynch on the People’s Business holding forth on the economy and the Governor of the Central Bank’s report.

    Patrick Hoyos produced the report, quoted from it and contradicted what Nole Lynch had said.

    The minister as much as admitted he had not actually read the report.

    All form, no substance and if the contributors to this blog are correct, and the proud owner of a $750,000 – $3 million property bordering the Apes Hill Golf Course!!

    I saw the performance a past Sunday night. I could not believe it!!

    It isn’t only party manifestos that do not get read in Barbados!!

  23. of interest

    hey just wanted to add my two cents worth to the Warrens fiasco, the one person whom is getting away here and not sharing any of this responsiblity is the the original Engineering firm which would have done the initial design. How can u do a proper design for a 5 storey structure with out proper testing? sounds crazy to me couldnt the seismic expert have been brought in in the preliminary design stages? it must be noted that on more than one occasion civil servants who are supposed ly stupid and lazy woul have expressed concerns about these developments but to no avail, this project is full of irregularities, an Electrical Contyractor who insist that he is not working as a sub contractor to the Main Contractor Barrack, end result we allow him to be a main contractor as well, hence no contrtol, it must be noted that the people of Barbados spent millions of dollars in professional fess for this project and look at the kind of representation we get? Design Collaborative Architects……..Should have insisted on the test on the behalf of Government, Errol Clarke Associates….should have done their home work hence avoiding the situation which occured, but then what the heck? thier fees are based on a percentage of the project cost……..Question are ther fees going to be adjusted upwards now that the settlement has come? would they total fees be based on the settlement cost? or will the additional contract sum paid to the Chinese be added to the settlement figure to Barrack Construction and then theior fees calculated? some one owes the poor people of Barbados an Explanation. we are constantly on the backs of civil servants for so called wrong or bad decisions now look at this? this is not the first time that some of these same professionals have cost the tax payers money check and see who were the engineers involved in the great St Joseph Hospital Scandal isnt this the same engineer who would have given advice on green land?


  24. John

    There is an Engineer’s Registration Act in existence. Before an Engineer can practise in Barbados and earn fees from that practice he/she must be registered.

    The yearly registration fee is $500.

    The whole object of the act is to protect and enhance public safety. An engineer can cause havoc if he/she is off in the design.

    There is a requirement on training and experience.

    Any registered Engineer must have passed through an accredited degree programme at university and have the requisite years of experience and training to back it up.

    There is a legal obligation which resides at the door of the Engineer. I believe the Architects also now have a Registration Act too.

    For example, there was a death recently in trenching works on a construction project. I recall the Engineer responsible for the project was required to give evidence.

  25. BK

    good point on the airport project. BFP should check the court order to see who has had 5 million dollars frozen in the case between the airport contractor and Everson Elcock by order of the court.

  26. Dizzy Bajan

    Governement just appointed a lady to promote Barbados through a new agency.

    At a ceremony to introduce the lady to the businees community Mia mottley announced that there are to be two new promotions websites through the agency which will be completed by December.

    The agency has not been established for 3 good months, the lady has been on the job for less than 2 and without any public tenders (as usual) two websites are currently being built. That is how the BLP runs Barbados.

    And at the end of the day I can bet that the jobs have gone to one of two web companies with very close ties to members of the BLP.

  27. SIAH

    The BLP has a vision for CSME.
    I have the real meaning of CSME:-

  28. Bubbles

    Isn’t it ironic that this government could find millions to spend on flyovers,Bridgetown redevelopment, giving away money to airlines and cruiseships but can’t find money to employ more customs//immigration officers at the airport?

    Isn’t it shameful how the NUPW vehemently oppose the QEH Board But its’ head was a Board member of GAIA?

  29. Banned

    Gentlemen the rules of the game have not changed significantly over the years.
    Put your money down to keep the party close to the black and reap either great rewards by receiving government contracts or high profile big money appointments at home or abroad. The whole party concepts stinks, and there is probably nothing that could be done to change things. Why vote unless you are part of the program with something to gain?

  30. Dizzy Bajan

    How many tenders for the $34 million St. Philip road project?????

  31. Jerome Hinds

    Is there a correlation between Barbados newest Mega six winner , NHC and the princely sum of 4.4 million dollars…???


  32. Jerome Hinds

    For starters, can it be that the NHC…………….Now Have Cash….(NHC)…???

  33. Watchman

    This comment is late in coming, but your assessment is right. Not only was “George W.” Barrack’s lawyer, but they were/are bosom buddies. Barrack also gave sponsorship to Standard Cricket Club. “George W.” is regarded as “President Fuh Life” of this club.

    Barrack was put on notice by “George W.” that he would not receive the contract to build the NHC buildings unless he agreed that a particular politician from the opposite side was not given a contract to do the electrical work.

    This sharing out of contracts to “bosom buddies” continued with a contractor neighbour of Owing being given one of the contracts to build 20 x 20 “start-a-houses” costing over $60, 000.00 at Apes Hill, St. James. The same contractor, who has the same surname as “George W.”, also did work on Owing’s home at West Terrace.

    Hey, how many of the owners/tenants of the houses in Apes Hill (St. Andrew constituency) paid their own M.P. over $4,000.00 in legal fees to work on their conveyances etc.? And some are now hollering fuh murder!

  34. When Barrack’s office was on site at Warrens, on entering the first thing you saw facing the door, was a 4ft x 2 1/2ft formal picture of Owen Arthur in suit on the wall high up behind Barrack’s executive chair. Any problems that developed, guess who was the first person he called.
    Pick sense from that.

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

  36. Mistrust in governments’ award of contracts exist in Barbados, it seems, as much as it exists in Triniland. Hope those folks in Barbados exercise more restraint than that conglomerate head did in Triniland. See Eugenia Franklin-Springer’s novel, “Soucouyants in Triniland/Wrong & Strong” on Amazon Kindle. The wrong way never pays! Google “Soucouyants in Triniland/Wrong & Strong”, and spread the word about this new incisive ebook Caribbean novel.
    ES Productions

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