TCI News

Press Statement from the Office of the Leader of the Opposition

#Providenciales, November 20, 2018 – Turks and Caicos – The conditions and the circumstances which have made the NJS Francis building unfit for occupation thereby resulting in the  relocation of the employees  falls squarely at the feet of the Premier.

Endemic to leadership roles are decision rights which make the leader accountable and obligated to assume responsibility for policies, actions, decisions as well as the obligation to report, explain and answer for the result be it favourable or unfavourable.  Yet, the Premier as the Leader of government, has neither reported nor offered an explanation.  In many governments around the world, such abject failure would result in the government vacating office – considering that the problem was entirely avoidable.

The vindictive and capricious style of leadership which this Premier embrace, has resulted in various cancellations or delays to several infrastructure projects, including JAGS McCartney International Airport, Waterloo, the South Caicos International Airport Terminal and the Cultural Amphitheatre (fish-fry village).  However, the awarding  of the contract for the repairs and refurbishment of the NJS Francis Building  is perhaps the most egregious frustration of a contract award, given the building’s centrality to TCI democracy, being  the physical seat of government.

To aggravate the situation, the Premier reduced and then removed the 2.1 million-dollar originally allocation in the 2016/17 budget for the repairs to the building, and for which tenders went out in 2016.  A contract with TCIG and a local contractor was signed in April 2017.  However, instead of informing the contractor of the commencement date of the contract  a letter of cancellation was sent on February 7, 2018.

The consequences of this will require the HOA to occupy the HJ Robinson High School Auditorium for an indeterminable period, thereby depriving students of valuable space and facilities.  In addition, this failure will  incur  recurrent expenditure to accommodate Ministry of Finance and other staff.  It will also result in an increase capital layout because of defects, which, had they been repaired as scheduled, would have resulted in less hurricane damage.

It is also noteworthy that there is a large tranche of funds   available despite the Premier’ intransigence to appeals to help old and indigent hurricane victims – 55 million dollars in access according to the Government Press statement, the flow of which is like that of molasses.   This hoarding of cash will only result in continuous degradation of infrastructure, more potential failures and mould infestation of government buildings.  As has become the norm for the Premier, this national disgrace will once again be blamed erroneously on Irma and Maria.  In the meantime, the delivery of services suffers because the government will now have to submit a supplementary appropriation bill and have it passed before it could retender the contract for the repairs and refurbishment.  This is likely to take us well into 2020.

It is in the public interest that this government advises the Governor to dissolve the HOA and call a general election to avoid a complete systemic breakdown.


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