University Of The West Indies Construction: Caribbean Companies Squeezed Out By Chinese Government

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This story was leaked to the Nation News and CBC a week ago. Why hasn’t the Barbados news media covered this story?

Our thanks to a special friend who sent us the following letter. For the record, none of the people named in the letter had anything to do with delivering this letter to Barbados Free Press.

Will Prime Minister Thompson, the Government of Barbados and UWI award a major construction contract to the Communist Chinese under such unfair conditions?

Will the Barbados news media now be embarrassed enough to cover the story?

I guess all those free trips to China for the politicians and the press have to be paid for in some way!

Barbados Contractors’ Association
C/O Moorjani Caribbean Limited, Jackson
St. Michael, Barbados
Phone: 246-421-4027 Fax 246-424-7374 e-mail:

June 13, 2008

Ms. Barbara Forde,
Project Officer
Cave Hill Campus,
University of West Indies,
St. Michael.

Dear Barbara,

Ref.: Construction of School of Business

Our members are in receipt of the names of the applicants for the pre-qualification of the Cave Hill School of Business. We notice that three Chinese companies have applied to be pre-qualified. Please take note of the strong objection by this Association of the inclusion of these companies on the following grounds:

1. We believe the 3 Chinese companies are owned by the Government of China. These companies are not independent as the management of the companies is interchanged depending on the territory they are working in. The construction of World Bank funded contract for the construction of Pogson Hospital in St. Kitts was won by China Jiangsu Canada limited and the contract was signed by China Jiangsu Trinidad Limited. Both companies had tendered the project supposedly independently. It is now customary that more than 1 Chinese company bids the World Bank or CDB funded projects. It leads us to speculate the independence of the bids which is a requirement of all the Tenders.

2. In accordance with the rules of CDB, these companies are supposed to operate as if these are independent private enterprise companies. To date no such proof has been forwarded by CDB to show transparently that such is the case. The case above in item 1 clearly indicates that these companies cannot be operating as independent companies.

3. Majority of the Labour engaged by the Chinese companies is from China thus denying local workers the opportunities of employment.

4. Wages paid by the Chinese companies to their Chinese workers are 25% of the wages paid by the Barbadian contractors to their workers. The conditions, under which the Chinese workers work, violate Human rights treaty and the UN convention of the treatment of migrant Labour, to which Barbados is a signatory.

5. Majority of materials are imported from China, which denies opportunities to Caricom indigenous business enterprises.

6. The Chinese companies enjoy taxation advantages in Barbados that are not available to our members.

7. Our members cannot compete with the Chinese companies because we are not tendering on a level playing field.

8. The University of West Indies is a unifying icon of the people of the West Indies. We urge the University to come to the forefront of our struggle to create fair and equitable treatment of Barbadian citizens and our Caricom Partners.

Yours Sincerely

Achal Moorjani

CC The Prime Minister of Barbados, Hon David Thompson
Minister of Labour Attn: Hon Arnie Walters. M. P.
Minister of Economic Affairs Attn: Hon. Maxine McClean.
Dr. Hillary Beckles Principal, Cave Hill campus of The University of West Indies
Caribbean Development Bank. Attn: Dr Compton Bourne, President

This story was leaked to the Nation News and CBC a week ago. Why hasn’t the Barbados news media covered this story?


Filed under Barbados, Barbados News & Media, Business, CARICOM, China, Freedom Of The Press, Politics

22 responses to “University Of The West Indies Construction: Caribbean Companies Squeezed Out By Chinese Government

  1. passin thru

    Why hasn’t the CBC and the Nation News covered this story?


    Once again the Bajan media is seen for what it is.

  2. fishguts

    “Why hasn’t the Barbados news media covered this story?”

    Peter Wickham will say nothing bad about china.

  3. JC

    Thank u Barbados Free press thank you. We are going to give them hellllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!

  4. West Side Davie

    To the Nation News, Barbados Advocate and CBC:

    Thanks for nothing.

  5. 198.1

    What’s new? Aren’t these the same arguments used whenever the Chinese get a contract?

  6. nameless

    I believe that one of BFPs favourite sayings is “nothing be free”? This is the proof.

  7. nameless

    198.1 says “What’s new? Aren’t these the same arguments used whenever the Chinese get a contract?”

    The truth is still the truth 198.1. Should everyone keep silent because the fix is in?

    You give up too easily.

  8. Iriebrown

    I’m glad this has come out at last as it certainly has been happening for a long time. It’s just not the same playing field. Extremely unfair.

    But more to the point why hasn’t there work permits been terminated when their contracts are finished. What are they still doing in B’dos far less working?

    The whole thing is odd.

    Why are the Chinese so interested in the Caribbean area ? Answer that question.

  9. Iriebrown…

    The answer to your question is extremely simple: because there is money to be made here.

    Why do you think the Irish (read: Digicel) are here?

  10. reality check

    When you go to another country you are normally obligated to hire local workmen except for a few supervisors who should have special expertise not available in the host country.

    This lack of transparency and enforcement in the pre bidding approval process sounds like the rules are being flouted.

    Who has been paid off for this abuse of protocol and common sense?

  11. Tell me Why

    The enclosed letter is a real eye opener especially the fact relating to the Chinese Government setting up construction companies in friendly nation’s territories. In one hand, the Chinese is offering financial assistance and in the other hand, we are seeing the said Chinese artisans on the job. So as you keep saying….”Nothing, absolutely nothing is Free”

    I am just letting my brain “go a wandering” . BFP, suppose the Chinese Government owned construction companies are paying part of the wages to the actual workers and the other percentages are sent back home to the workers’ families? That might be the reason we keep saying that foreign labour is cheap.

  12. EckyBecky

    Good thing no cheap, cheap thing no good! The Chinese are cheap, really cheap. Word to the wise (hopefully)!

  13. There is an old saying…

    Quick. Cheap. Good. Pick two.

    Unfortunately, even this is only true in transparent situations….

  14. Sad To Say

    I am amazed that this HEADLINE news item has been ignored by our “free press”. This does leave a lot of (Chinese) food for thought.

    On the other hand I must admit that as an entrepreneur I will invite the Chinese to bid on my next project. While home drums everything being equal, should beat first, however, in these trying economic times one is FORCED to “think” with their pockets.

    May be our local contractors may have to:
    1. Have to stop trying to make 100% on all contracts
    2. Weed out the dishonest contractors
    a. Indentifying these individuals/ companies
    b. Punishing those that “rip off” their clients
    c. Introduce penalties for those with cost/ time over runs
    3. Look at bay passing the middle men – Carters/ H&B/ Barbados Lumber/ Etc.
    4. Look into bulk purchasing from suppliers of steel, cement, lumber, etc.
    5. Negotiate with Government re tax concessions for:
    a. Number of (local) persons employed per year
    b. Size of contract
    c. Paying statutory obligations on time
    d. Guaranteeing a minimum quantum of business/ year
    6. Lobby to reduce the following cost:
    a. Architect – 7%
    b. Legal – 3+%
    c. QS – 2%
    d. Real Estate Agent – 5%
    e. Contractor – 10%
    f. Total ~ > 27%

  15. akabozik

    It is disgusting that Barbados Free Press should be breaking this story. No offense BFP but it is beyond belief that in our “free” Barbados we are forced to rely upon blogs for the “real” news. It is getting silly when I trust an anonymous blog more than the largest newspaper in the country but here we are.

  16. 235078

    and STILL y’all keep on buying newspapers!
    Wunnuh deserve what wunnuh get!

  17. 235078…

    We have to — the newspapers are still the “official” press, and it is where notices from government and business appear.

    I read both papers every single day — it is ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back….

  18. There are reliable reports of similar concerns in other Eastern Caribbean countries where Chinese construction firms are making local firms uncompetitive. Several of the concerns raised in the letter have been noted to me for example in Grenada. Unlike some Eastern Caribbean countries where China reportedly gives these countries loans it is reported that Barbados is funding these projects from tax payers money which the Chinese firms or China is able to out-bid Barbadian firms. This is a concern which Barbados Free Press should be lauded for getting and posting the contractors’ letter. The gas station owners also have their issues but they like the contractors lack the marketing expertise to deal with such an issue.

  19. JM

    You are such idiots think either CBC or the Nation or Starcom would print anything like this.

    Neither are in the news business any longer.

    CBC is a government-owned, -controlled, -directed, and -manipulated mouthpiece for the PIP.

    The Nation and Starcom are now concerned about the bottom line rather than publishing news. If you hear stories from former employees – including one who lasted on two months at Starcom this year – you would understand why OneCaribbean Media is about money not news.

    Alas! How big wheels turn! The places that are concerned with publish “news” today are the Barbados Advocate and Mix FM – an of course Barbados Free Press.

  20. Waterboy

    Alas! How big wheels turn! The places that are concerned with publish “news” today are the Barbados Advocate and Mix FM – an of course Barbados Free Press.
    JM. most would agree with your comments but the Advocate concerned with publishing news?
    If ever ther was a rag that was a mouthpiece for the PIP it is the Advocate.

    What “news” does Mix FM cover?

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