Fire station costs almost double

Fire station costs almost double

It was originally expected to cost $4.5 million.

However, by the end of July last year the cost of the Arch Hall Fire Station had risen alarmingly to $8.13 million, according to the latest Auditor General report.

The fire station, which was closed in January 2014 for renovations, reopened its doors late last month.

Auditor General Leigh Trotman

Among the reasons given by Auditor General Leigh Trotman for the near doubling of the construction costs were changes in the scope of the project, extension of the project timetable, and $60, 000 in interest resulting from late payments on the part of Government.

The required approval process was also not followed, costing $2.79 million.

In fact, the audit found that only $0.76 million, or just over 21 per cent of the $3.6 million in overruns, was submitted for, and received the required prior approval, by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

“This failure to have a large number of variations properly approved would have impacted on the ability of the Permanent Secretary, as the Accountant Officer, and the Senior Officer responsible for the project, to identify significant increases in project costs, especially since the variations were not being disclosed as such on the majority of payment certificates.

“It would also have impacted on the Permanent Secretary’s ability to recognize the resulting depletion of funds, and the need to seek Cabinet approval, as well as additional funding for the proposed variations in a timely manner,” the Auditor General added.

The Arch Hall Fire Station before it underwent its recent costly repairs.

In terms of late payments, as of July 21 last year the authorities had failed to make 21 payments within the timeframe required by the contract, resulting in interest charges of $60,036 and suspension of the project in accordance with notice given by the contractor around July 12 last year.

The auditor general also took issue with the method of accounting used, warning that it was in contravention of Rule 177 of the Financial Management and Audit (Financial) Rules, 2011.

“This . . . would have caused an overstatement of the expenditure for the financial year in which the funds were expensed, while causing a corresponding understatement of expenditure in the ensuing year.

“This action is incorrect and was used to avoid re-budgeting for the expenditures in the new financial year. It was also a deliberate attempt to circumvent the Financial Rules,” he added.

Therefore, while the Quantity Surveyor’s Projected Financial Account as at July 29, 2016 showed a total cost of $8.13 million, the Auditor, in recalculating the account, came up with a total of $7.61 million, which is $0.52 million less than the submitted total.

The Auditor General also called for the adjustment to be made before payment of the final balance.

In response, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs said the ministry noted and accepted the observations made in relation to the special audit of the extension of the Arch Hall Fire Station project.

However, the official pointed out that neither the Fire Service nor the ministry was aware of the amounts to be paid or the periods for which the related work was done.

“As a result, the funds were accrued at the end of the financial year to pay the contractor for any outstanding invoices.

“I wish to assure you that the Ministry of Home Affairs will be guided by your advice and will seek to remedy those deficiencies in the management and oversight of its capital works projects that gave rise to the problems identified.

“In particular, measures will be implemented to closely monitor the timelines of projects and the costs associated with each period, thus complying with the Financial Management and Audit (Financial) Rules, 2011,” the Permanent Secretary said. (KJ)

31 Responses to Fire station costs almost double

  1. Krystle Howell
    Krystle Howell June 2, 2017 at 1:53 am

    Yet the MoF will say there is no wastage in Barbados….smh!

    Reply
  2. Francis McClean
    Francis McClean June 2, 2017 at 3:41 am

    “The required approval process was not followed costing $2.79 million dollars” no wonder we are in trouble. well, well well. Who is responsible for this? In our current situation, we cannot afford to pelt way money so. Lord have is mercy.

    Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Minister and so call big shot running the ministry responsible.

      Reply
      • Jennifer June 2, 2017 at 7:53 am

        This is how so called black people spend generally. So that big house lot only following a traditional way of spending.

        Reply
  3. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Not the least bit surprise to hear this because it’s not a one off but normal way projects or anything involving taxpayer money is handle in Barbados.Auditor General have been pointing out waste and abuse for years but yet it keeps getting worse year after year.Make no mistake Auditor General is way more honest than any politician from either D&B combined who are just a bunch of pigs at the taxpayers trough.

    Reply
    • Kimberley Cadogan
      Kimberley Cadogan June 2, 2017 at 7:12 am

      Because his office has no power and if it does he does not use it

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 7:13 am

      Kimberley Cadogan got to agree with ya.

      Reply
    • Danny Colombian Clarke
      Danny Colombian Clarke June 2, 2017 at 7:32 am

      The Auditor General has made some serious statements over the last few years about transactions but that died a slow death

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 7:38 am

      Danny Colombian Clarke agree looks like his words mean nothing to these politicians,I’m surprise that heads have not roll but Bajans have been allowing these corrupt pratices to happen without demanding answers for years so that ain’t gine change now.

      Reply
    • Charming Forde
      Charming Forde June 2, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Kimberley Cadogan it is the former rather than the latter, his office has absolutely no power nor is it respected.

      Reply
    • Ovid Forde
      Ovid Forde June 2, 2017 at 8:44 am

      What a joke. A country being run worst than a Boys Scout troop. It clearly appears that these contracts are written with purposeful intent to defraud the tax payers. There are certain clauses placed in a government issued contract which gives the government the power to cancel that contract at any time and hold the contractor financially responsible for the additional cost of completing the execution of that contract. Secondly all government contracts should be issued after a BID process with the specifications of the contract laid out in the IFB (invitation for bids) package. A set cost is stated and if the winning contractor exceeds that price he has to eat the additional cost. If he cannot or does not complete the contract by the specified time the contractor pays a penalty in the form of a reduction in the amount of money he would be paid. Thirdly the government has the authority to with hole 20% of the total contract cost until the contractor has completed the contract and the government is satisfied that the letter of the contract has been followed. Fourth, in the case of any additional funs, (Cost Over Runs) being added to the bid price by the winning contractor a CO (Change Order) must be applied for under the proper application process, with all justifying documentation and reasoning put forward and heard before the granting committee. If the government is issuing open ended contracts to contractors some person or persons are lining their pockets with the taxpayer’s money in the form of kickbacks.

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Ovid Forde we should not be surprise by this it is how Barbados have been run by both of these two political parties that have ever govern Barbados period.No money or paper trail contracts not put to public tender it’s corrupted people and nothing gine change even when BLP gets back into office.Outside international auditors need to take a look at this going back many years and at the politicians and big boys running government ministries,if it walks quack like a duck it must be a duck.

      Reply
    • Bajan Fahlife
      Bajan Fahlife June 2, 2017 at 9:23 am

      It is we the people that must hold the political class to account, they in turn will hold their subordinates into account. No one gets fired or locked up in Barbados.

      Reply
    • Rawle Spooner
      Rawle Spooner June 2, 2017 at 9:26 am

      Bajan Fahlife and that is de real injustice because Bajans have allowed these slimy shady politicians to get away with corrupt stuff all these years so hence they have no fear.

      Reply
  4. Cecilia Carew
    Cecilia Carew June 2, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Uh will bet somebody wid uh fancy degree is responsible fuh dis..

    Reply
  5. Steve Jemmott
    Steve Jemmott June 2, 2017 at 8:01 am

    ……sometimes I wonder if they gave the ordinary man on the street a calculator to estimate this work, not 100% over all the time for professionals.

    Reply
    • Bajan Fahlife
      Bajan Fahlife June 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

      The work was estimated correct but bad workmanship plus drawback money takes the projects in another direction. People have to be paid for signing contracts.

      Reply
    • Steve Jemmott
      Steve Jemmott June 2, 2017 at 9:29 am

      no way!, any project costing twice the original estimate is a different project altogether. 15% max variations if so much.

      Reply
  6. Barry June 2, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Unbelievable – you couldn’t make it up! With all the current uncertainty in this world I can always rely on the chumps in Barbados to make me laugh, while pitying a government that actually believes it is legitimate and free from corruption.

    Reply
  7. Leroy June 2, 2017 at 8:44 am

    Wow, if you take this one project and extrapolate it to every gov project, then we can see who the “obese jockey” is, and its not the public but the politicians and their big up friends.

    It has to stop, I heard Mia jump up and talk about integrity legislation and declaration of assets, I want to see what he will do if elected.

    This sh!te have to stop now.

    Reply
  8. Patrick Cozier
    Patrick Cozier June 2, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Another $ 4 million, gone. No wonder we have to cough up much more in taxes.

    Reply
  9. Alex Alleyne June 2, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Nothing new, this is how Government spend tax payers money in the Caribbean. They answer to NO ONE and no one goes to JAIL.

    Reply
  10. Milli Watt June 2, 2017 at 11:57 am

    people claim an education, get a job, perform at this sub optimal level, keep a job and do the same thing all over again. From de lousy politicians, stinking technocrats and contractors the tax payer is forced to carry the burden. Imagine this country could have gotten two stations which it needs but somebody clearly got a station at their place.

    Reply
  11. Peter June 2, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Money up in smoke. Ask Jennifer the English accent black nun. rojo humps her. she should confess

    Reply
    • Jennifer June 2, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      @Peter – down red dog peter aka rojo. Down lice ridden flee bag penny winkle, tintsy tinkle.

      Reply
  12. Carol Grant Cumberbatch
    Carol Grant Cumberbatch June 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Only God can save us

    Reply
  13. Randolph June 2, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Please call the election

    Reply
  14. Antonio Cozier
    Antonio Cozier June 2, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    When a project is estimated it is estimated to cost x amount of money to build it but then you have to put something there for the boys

    Reply
  15. Sisleen Greene June 2, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    There are too many square pegs in round holes in the service. We have so called professionals transitioning from private to public,who will not be guided, don’t see the importance of the financiaĺ and audit act and so they just proceed to do and get away with nonsense.
    The other thing is that many of the current P..S are very inexperience themselves, too laid back and only interested in the perks and looking stylish.
    Unlike the P.S. of yesteryear, this new bunch seem afraid to challenge or guide the Politicians/Ministers .This therefore
    Leads to contractors getting away with murder while taking the Gov. for rides.S

    Reply
  16. Samantha Best June 2, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Not only that Sisleen, these projects normally have Project Managers who advise the PS on the status of the projects before approval for payments are processed. Follow the projects at both OAG and Home Affairs and see how they are being run. Then one would hear the Minister applauding the work of the Project Manager. Check the Supreme Court as well.

    If approval was only granted for 21% of the payments, who approved the other 79%? PS is ultimately responsible. When persons appointed to PS position without a day as an administrator gaining experience and know how, that’s the result.

    Reply
  17. Yap Bait June 2, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    When you get this lack of an open cheque book, the public has to be very weary of self-dealing, self-enrichment on the part of these players. They have been around for a long time so they fully understand how the game is executed. Little oversight and no punishment…wooh wee!

    Reply

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