The Grenville Phillips Column – Repent
Government Ministers can corrupt a national economy by giving no-bid (or no-tendering) contracts in exchange for bribes. The participating businesses are normally the least competent in the country, who can only survive by paying bribes to shield them from fair competition. Their incompetence is normally revealed in the substandard goods and services they provide.
The substandard goods normally require excessive and costly maintenance and premature replacement. The same protected businesses are normally contracted to provide those additional services. The public is forced to pay for the bribes, and the excessive maintenance and replacement costs, through increased taxes – craftly taken.
The advice of no-bid consultants tends to be abysmally substandard, resulting in costly consequences for the Government. The Ministers dare not accuse the no-bid consultants of gross incompetence, since that risks exposing the no-bid contracts to scrutiny. It is much cleaner politically to simply increase taxes on citizens to pay for the no-bid consultants’ costly mistakes.
In Barbados, both political administrations have accused the other of awarding no-bid contracts to their supporters. However, what occurred during the last decade should never be repeated. A first-hand typical example in one economic sub-sector should suffice.
A Consulting Engineer’s curriculum vitae (CV) currently has a functional life of 5 years. That means that if the Engineers cannot prove that they have worked on similar projects during the past 5 years, then they are disqualified from tendering on those types of projects.
Under the last DLP administration, there were several projects in my field that I would normally have submitted a tender. However, tendering seemed to have been abolished. My qualifications and experience are internationally competitive, and I was able to find sufficient work around the Caribbean. However, what was merely inconvenient for me was disastrous for others.
As the 5-year CV deadline was approaching, I was contacted by several Engineers who needed to participate in some work in order to keep their CVs alive. I helped as many as I was able, but tragically, I could not help them all.
I literally begged three Ministers of Government to allow tendering to resume in Barbados, and was told that a ‘berry’ could be found for me. I explained that I did not want any ‘berry’. I just wanted all Engineers to be given the same opportunity to tender fairly. I received no ‘berry’ and no tenders were allowed for about 7 years.
To disqualify Barbadian Engineers from tendering for 5 years is wicked. To extend that to 7 years, thus damaging the competitiveness of Barbadian Engineers, is to cross a boundary into an evil that we have hitherto not known in Barbados.
I have been informed that members of other professions had similar complaints of the last DLP administration, with all work being given to the politically favoured through no-bid contracts. Many good companies were severely harmed, and became significantly less competitive, due to the DLP’s unconscionable behaviour during that time.
Before DLP candidates even think about making any public comment on any issue in Barbados, they first need to repent of the wickedness and be exorcised of the evil that they embraced, to our harm, during their last time in Government. Nothing less should do.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com