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The Ministry of Infrastructure has announced that efforts are being made to ensure the completion of rehabilitation works on the Bocage, Sunbilt and Entrepot and Independence City road at the soonest,

According to a communiqué from that department which details the arrangement with the contractor the Ministry has been in discussion with its Technical Officers and the Attorney General to chart a way forward.

The statement has advised that the Government cannot be held accountable for the current status of this stalled project and the great inconvenience that it has caused, pointing to a contract, which was signed between the Government of Saint Lucia and the contracting firm of Asphalt and Mining St. Lucia Company Ltd On October 13th 2011for the Rehabilitation of the Roads.

The terms of the contract were under a Design-Build-Finance arrangement. The contract sum for this project is set at over 9 million dollars and it was agreed that the contractor would be paid an interest rate of 5.5% over five years, commencing three (3) months after the issuance of the completion certificate. The original completion date was set for October 2012.

The statement notes that the contractor received an advance payment certificate of One Million, Seven Hundred and Sixty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty one Dollars ($1,786,651.00). From the $1.7 million in advance, the Government has recouped half a million dollars. This means, the statement further notes, that the Contractor now owes the Government over One Million dollars in advances.

The contractor also received a mobilization fee of Six Hundred and Seventy Five Thousand dollars ($675.000.00). As a result, before any work commenced, the contractor received over $2.3 Million in advance payments and Mobilisation.

It must be noted that the issuance of the advance payment certificate was not accompanied by the requisite authority. The Procurement and Stores Regulation - Revised Laws of Saint Lucia, Section 21, Chapter 15;01 states: “No advance payments other than a mobilisation fee may be paid on any contract without the written approval of the Director of Finance and Planning”. There is no evidence of any such approval. 

The Government, through the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport has fulfilled all of its responsibilities to the Contractor including the approval all verified certificates when they become due. In an effort to ensure the completion of this project at the soonest, the Ministry of Infrastructure, Port Services and Transport has been in discussion with its Technical Officers and the Attorney General to chart a way forward.
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