Minister of Infrastructure, Gregory Bowen has announced that government is forced to push back the date for the opening of the island’s brand new multi-million dollar Parliament building due to a setback in procuring critical electronic equipment from a contracted supplier.
Speaking at a sitting of the Lower House of Parliament last week Tuesday, the senior government minister said that the ruling New National Party (NNP) government has been forced to reopen the tendering process to get someone to supply the electronic component needed to outfit the Grenada Houses of Parliament as the original supplier pulled out of the arrangement.
According to Minister Bowen who is the Leader of Government Business in the Lower House, the June 8 opening date set for the Parliament building will have to be postponed until a suitable supplier is contracted.
He assured the sitting that everything else but the electronic component is on schedule for the outfitting of the building at Mt Wheldale, overlooking the city.
“We went through all the procurement process, the construction of the building with respect to the bricks and mortar that is on schedule Mr. Speaker – so, we can go and sit in the building. However, the electronic component and that will allow for the Clerk and other officers and other officers of the Parliament to go from speech to (recording) and has to do a lot with the security. In fact, the cables are already in the conduits in the building….”, he said.
“The equipment which was ordered will not reach in Grenada on time and this came about because the supplier suddenly, after being contracted to provide the equipment, suddenly indicated to us that they will no longer be able to provide the equipment and not only that they would not be able to provide it within a time required, they will not be able to provide it at all. So, this having arisen Mr. Speaker, we had to go back out to tender,” he added.
Minister Bowen told his colleagues in the Lower House that due to monies provided by the governments of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Mexico involved in the project, the Keith Mitchell-led regime in St. George’s has to make sure that whoever wins the bid is a good fit.
“So, we have to go back out Mr. Speaker, when this thing (electronic equipment) should have been here maybe the beginning of May, to be installed so that we can open on the eight of June. We now have to go back through a tendering process that will require at least 21 days to make a decision and then you may have to monitor some of those bits of equipment, then it’s a further month or so Mr. Speaker. So, we have no choice but to postpone it,” Bowen explained.
He said there is nothing government can do about the situation except to reschedule an opening date of the building.
“So, it was not the fault of the management team, neither was it the fault of the government – it was the fault of the supplier and now Mr. Speaker we cannot go to sue the supplier. If they simply say they can’t supply you, whether or not they have their bigger order because this order is somewhere in the six digits, hundreds and thousands of US dollars but if they have a billion dollars worth of contract and this little thing is hampering them, of course they will go with the billion dollars. So, here we are today, having to go out and tender, using a different supplier….”, he told Parliament.
“One concern … all of us have Mr. Speaker, the (original) persons that we went to they are the best, undoubtedly so. By saying that, it doesn’t mean that the other company cannot make equipment as good as they are making but we have lost them and we are now in the process of re-tendering Mr. Speaker and a new date will have to be set at this time, probably we should make sure that the equipment arrive in Grenada before we set a date,” he said.