Skerrit under fire for Maloney contract

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended his government’s decision to contract Barbadian company Preconco Limited to assist in post-hurricane reconstruction efforts.

Last September, category five Hurricane Maria swept across the island, causing significant damage to the housing stock.

Since then, agreement has been reached with the Mark Maloney-led Preconco Limited for an undisclosed financial sum to construct 1,000 homes in the hurricane-ravaged island. Critics have blasted the Skerrit-led government for awarding the contract to an overseas firm, while claiming that the decision deprived Dominicans of employment and training opportunities in key areas of the construction sector.

Critics also say the decision deprives Dominicans of the ability to supply the raw materials such as sand and stone used in the manufacture of homes.

However, addressing a press conference yesterday, Skerrit noted that Preconco was a Caribbean company with a proven track record, while arguing that there was no company in Dominica or the Eastern Caribbean with comparable capacity or experience in doing what the island needs to be done or within the timeframe needed.

The embattled prime minister also sought to explain that while 1,000 homes were to be constructed, the contract is for an initial importation of 20 homes.

“These homes will be in Dominica very shortly and from start to finish, will have taken just two months to construct, install and complete.  The homes are not pre-fabricated homes.  They are pre-cast, pre-stressed concrete homes, built specifically to meet the seismic requirements of our region, and will offer a safe and attractive home to Dominicans, with future benefits which will be outlined at an appropriate time,” he said.

Skerrit also touted the economic benefits of the project, citing port fees, hauler fees, and crane and equipment rental. He also reported that 50 Dominicans had also been employed to help construct the 20 homes.

At the same time, the Prime Minister announced plans for the establishment of a purpose-built concrete plant “to meet the required urgent and long-term housing needs of Dominica, as well as to assist with the building of other infrastructure needs for the public and private sectors”.

Additionally, he said, the contract offers Dominicans a unique opportunity to gain skills across sectors, such as electrical engineering and plumbing, welding, steel bending, specialty fabrication works, as well as machine operators and other similar skilled and unskilled labour.

“This contract will allow us to train Dominicans to ensure that we have a skilled construction sector, and if we must face another hurricane or natural disaster, we can do so knowing we have a labour force which can help us to rebuild once more,” Skerrit said.

“The homes that will be constructed in the plant here in Dominica will be built according to a master plan which will take into account the locations where the homes are needed; the infrastructure that these homes will need and in accordance with the highest seismic and wind safety requirements for the region, so that we are able to create sustainable housing communities which are thoughtfully designed and planned to meet the needs of those communities,” he added.

He further assured Dominicans that building materials such as sand, aggregate and stones would be sourced locally.

Skerrit also noted that given the widespread devastation suffered in Dominica, 1,000 homes was but a small component of the housing rebuilding effort on the island, which is now aiming to become the first climate resilient nation in the world.

“Therefore private sector interests in Dominica, rather than criticizing the start-up of this venture, should be actively pooling resources and acquiring the necessary technology and skills set to provide housing solutions of the strength and durability, and within the timeframe that is required,” Skerrit said.

18 Responses to Skerrit under fire for Maloney contract

  1. Ziggy Blessed
    Ziggy Blessed December 21, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Caribbean people ain’t Gine get sense.???…..when the hurricane hit the Caribbean jump in and help now things settle we gine back to the old stupid ways….I agree with you Mr. PM……ignore the silly critics!!!

    Reply
  2. Larry Thompson
    Larry Thompson December 21, 2017 at 12:41 am

    Rich getting richer poor gettin poorer

    Reply
    • Haskell Murray December 21, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Nonsense

      Reply
  3. Bajan boy December 21, 2017 at 1:33 am

    Skerritt and the DLP are close bed fellows as he was Thompson buddy so Maloney getting the millions is not a surprise. He can sell the big apartment here on Yorkshire and give back Dominica some of her money…

    Reply
  4. Nicholas Mackie
    Nicholas Mackie December 21, 2017 at 1:50 am

    Concrete doesn’t blow down like chattel house

    Reply
    • Gillian Skeete
      Gillian Skeete December 21, 2017 at 7:12 am

      True but Maloney greedy! Hope the pm in Dominica reads every piece of paper he is given specially the fine print. Don’t trust any of them

      Reply
    • Nicholas Mackie
      Nicholas Mackie December 21, 2017 at 7:23 am

      Well Uncle Sam, the French , Dutch nor the uk are coming (Dominica is a republic) and the media are only covering PR so Dominica is already forgotten subject even though Hardest hit (most Americans think Dom rep is Dominica including trump) so what choices does PM have ? Sometimes when you find yourself blown and washed out to sea the only way home is to swim through shark infested waters …..and hope you don’t get eaten!

      Reply
  5. Jennifer December 21, 2017 at 6:15 am

    seeing the devastation was great. Let see what happens on the next round of construction.

    Reply
  6. Miguel Griffith
    Miguel Griffith December 21, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Do what ya gotta do PM. You can never please everyone. Some people just badminded and indifferent

    Reply
  7. Greengiant December 21, 2017 at 8:06 am

    Imagine, preconco got the job based on the fact that the only main building that stood up was one built by them in the first place. Yet the locals are critical of the government for giving the work to preconco.

    We do the same here where our Trinidadian investors are concerned, so it’s just a caribbean thing. Some years ago the St. Lucians did the same to Julie N. The Caricom heads should be ashamed of what they’ve done to our people over the decades. They have really made a mess of our unity, the only thing that works is the RSS, which protects them from the wrath of the people.

    As the mighty sparrow wrote some years ago, “because they train in England, westminster choking we”.

    Reply
    • Sue Donym December 21, 2017 at 9:47 am

      @Greengiant, I believe you quoted a line from Gabby’s (Anthony Carter) West Indian Politician.

      Reply
  8. Interested Party December 21, 2017 at 8:37 am

    The PM has the right to do business with whom he chooses but this reeks of politics. That said, anything to get people in shelter is a “good thing” or is it? I am just curious who Maloney found who was able lobby for and to build houses to withstand “seismic” activity. A hurricane is not seismic activity. I assume he has geologists and others on his team of construction workers who are better qualified than Dominicans and also the teams who build houses in areas with fault lines in Japan, USA and around the world who have top engineering qualifications in structural and geological issues. Too much politics, too little care about the small, black man. The PM would do well to help his own people (after all, he was asking for help even at the UN) to get Dominica going again instead of asking Maloney whose cement company is in a legal wrangling (allegedly) in Trinidad courts. If his cement is not allegedly considered good enough in Trinidad, which has not been hit by a hurricane, how can his cement which builds the concrete houses be good enough for Dominica? Asking for a friend since Trinidad experiences earthquakes quite often! Maloney, care to answer if you have geologists on your team? Sigh!

    Reply
    • Haskell Murray December 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

      How can you publish such nonsense

      Reply
  9. Alex Alleyne December 21, 2017 at 8:43 am

    This is why CARICOM is in such a mess. If it was CHINA with all their people going there to do the work, it would have been all well and good.

    Reply
  10. Patrick Cozier
    Patrick Cozier December 21, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Go ahead Skerrit, we will always face Caribbean insularity. If every company was restricted to its own borders, we would have no Caribbean companies.

    Reply
  11. Alex Alleyne December 21, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Listening to hear what these same people saying on the “US threatens to end aid to the Caribbean on vote at UN against Jerusalem”.

    Reply
  12. Helicopter(8P) December 23, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    Over the years I’ve found person who have no concrete knowlege on specified subjects, give recomendations without solutions.

    Reply
  13. Neil Corbin December 24, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    The ignorant comments and small mindedness of some persons bent on negativity in the face of disaster is so typical. Maloney’s mindset should be everyone’s mindset – think big and make big! I for one certainly have no problem with this project and I know Dominicans will benefit from the superior construction of the precast model.

    Reply

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