The combined total of these contracts values more than $20 million.
This is according to statistics provided by the RDA’s Director of the Programme Strategy Department, Dr Neil Smith who made the disclosure during the handing over ceremony of the North Sound Administration Building on Tuesday.
“We have now total commitments of $23.86 million. Of that $23.86 million, $1.2 million is international, local is $21.4 million, and regional with our Caribbean neighbours is $1.2 million as well. Out of that, of all the contracts the RDA has given out — some 144 in all — 90 percent of those were given to local contractors,” Dr Smith stated.
In justifying the high percentage for awarding contracts to locals’ contracts, Premier Fahie said he believes a decision to prioritize non-locals for the jobs would not have been beneficial to the territory.
“It would’ve been unfair to the people of the Virgin Islands to have to pay back a $65 million loan and have other contractors come from around the world and be awarded these contracts, and the money doesn’t circulate through the local economy and therefore we would have contributed to an even greater social problem,” ther Premier explained.
“I want to say that is one of the areas that your government ensured that more local contractors have an opportunity. We could not decide who would get it but we made sure that somebody out of the Virgin Islands would get it,” he added.
In the meantime, Fahie who is also the Minister of Finance, said the procedure of selecting contractors for the respective projects was transparently done and assured that none of the projects were just handed to any of the successful recipients.
“Sometimes you know you walk around this small place and hear things. That’s why it’s always good to prove them before you move forward. But there was absolutely no contractor that was given these projects. They were sent out in a transparent process through the RDA for bidding and the contractors got their technical people together and they sent in their bids and then the transparent process of opening the bids and deciding who would be awarded the bids were done and that is how the contractors were selected,” Premier Fahie said.
He added: “So some contractors bid on more than one project and were able to be successful on it, but it isn’t that anyone gave them the project or was giving one contractor two projects or three projects as being purported by some. It was transparently done. It is accountable and we must commend all those involved.”