Preconco blows the whistle on damaging game of ‘political football’
That’s how shareholders in Preconco Limited today described Opposition Leader Mia Mottley’s claims in Parliament this week that the company has been getting both preferential treatment and pricing from the Freundel Stuart Government.
In a clear-the-air statement, which also followed suggestions made by Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler that its owner Mark Maloney, as well as two other leading local businessmen – Bjorn Bjerkhamn and Sir Charles Williams – were among the beneficiaries of a 99-year lease issued by the former administration on the eve of the 2008 elections which swept the Barbados Labour Party from office, Preconco denied any involvement in that project.
Shareholders also said they were not at all happy that the company was being used somewhat like a “political football” by members on both sides of the political divide.
“We will not sit and hide and wait for time to pass for people to forget what has been said about us but would prefer to speak on the matters that have been raised and try to clear the air the best we can,” said
Preconco in the statement emailed to Barbados TODAY by Maloney.
The company pointed out that over its 25-year life, it had worked on “most large Government projects with both administrations”. However, it said this was “for the simple reason of being able to have the products and services that were required to meet the projects requirements”.
“Some of these are as follows: the prison, judicial center, Kensington Oval, Bridgetown Port projects, ABC highway projects, Swan Street beautification, Valery, Grotto, molasses tanks, NIS buildings to name a few,” the statement said, adding that “we were not involved in some of the projects that our name was being called for in parliament and have asked for a retraction of this”.
“The Minister of Finance, in his closing address, has addressed the comments made on pricing on both the Grotto and Valery projects and has given the facts on the pricing for these, which shows that the rates are in line with reasonable prices and also in line with past pricing on similar projects undertaken.
“It is being claimed that Preconco undertook some of these, but the truth is that the company acted as a sub-contractor for most, and the ones that it took the lead on, it was involved in arranging a design, build and finance arrangement which went through extensive regulatory requirements with various corporations, boards, banks, legal and other requirements and we see no wrongdoing in anything we have done,” Preconco explained in the statement.
It went on: “Every project that we work on has been done with full transparency and what is being portrayed by some as being out of place, is inaccurate and misleading to the public”.
“We are not divided by or politically motivated and do not like being used as a political football for individuals agendas but do understand that what is discussed in Parliament isn’t subject to any legal action because individuals are immune under the laws of Parliament.
“We will continue to strive for excellence and to work hard to bring investment to Barbados and to develop our businesses in the industries we are in and will work to be involved in all projects that have opportunities that suit our group’s portfolio.
“We do think that Government’s role is to facilitate investment and by so doing we will continue to look at opportunities that bring investment to Barbados and to continue to develop our products and services to be able to be a part of all opportunities that present themselves to our group and will work with the Government to ensure that facilitation is sought where needed,” the statement added.