Rolle: Contractor under former admin. paid twice, but repairs neglected
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The students at Black Point All-Age School in Exuma are set to receive a $100,000 upgrade to the facilities and grounds within this fiscal period, according to Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle.
Rolle, who hails from Black Point, said upon learning of the challenges at the school, he immediately contacted Minister of Education Jeffrey Lloyd, who immediately confirmed that $100,000, was being dedicated to repairs at the school.
“I can confirm and I am assured Mr. Speaker that the students in the school in Black Point will get the best from this ministry, just like Mr. Speaker, we are fixing the dock in Baraterre; we are doing some work in Staniel Cay — we are doing what the PLP don’t do,” Rolle said in Parliament.
“We are fixing the bridge and we are doing that in this budget.”
Purported photos of the Black Point All-Age School made the rounds on social media last week.
The photos showed water-damaged walls, stripped of paint, and exposed plywood in the restroom; a dingy lavatory with exposed portions of concrete where a urinal once was; and damaged walls and vents on the exterior of a faculty building.
In a statement last week, Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper said it was an outrage that the school remained in a state of disrepair, five months into the new school year.
“The fact of the matter is this administration removed oversight of school repairs from those previously responsible to a new contractor who, despite assuring me four months ago that the work had mobilized, has not completed the work as contracted,” Cooper claimed.
“I am trying to determine exactly why this has happened.
“Also, as I did last year, I have brought the deplorable state of the school to the attention of the minister, who has promised that the repairs will take place.
“It is a frustrating state of affairs and in no way acceptable.
“No matter how remote the community, all children in The Bahamas deserve to have comfortable, safe accommodations when receiving their education.”
According to Rolle, a contractor engaged to execute repairs on the school under the Christie administration in 2016 and 2017, did not execute the scope of work, but was allegedly paid twice.
Rolle said the scope of work included bathroom repairs.
“The contractor was paid both times,” he claimed.
“The [then] minister of public works must have done the inspection.
“He must have known the conditions of the bathrooms before he paid; should have.
“It impacted the children then and it is impacting them now.
“That’s an example of wastage of government funds by the [then] minister of public works.
“The thing about it is [the MP for] Exuma knows this because in his walkabout yesterday the boys told me, they reminded him. One of the contractors told me they reminded him.”
On a point of order, Cooper said he was only interested in resolution, not a back and forth.
He said, “I don’t want to get drawn into issues related to scope of works, contractors.
“I cast no aspersions today on the contractor, now or then.
“My concern, and I don’t want to get drawn into it, and I ask the member for Garden Hills, not to come with hearsay and draw me in for the public record, but rather to focus on the resolution of the issue.
“I was satisfied when the minister said the matter is at hand and the matter will be resolved.
“The children will be satisfied when the work is complete and that is the extent of my concern today.”
Rolle said the Exuma MP should be prepared for what is put on the record by the governing side, when he raises issues on the record in the House of Assembly.