Bahamian contractors have been urged to maintain the standards of the profession as they and the government have a “critical” role in ensuring that the annual capital development allocation of approximately $120 million for the Ministry of Public Works is “efficiently” expended in a way that ensures the degradation and deterioration throughout the country are not continued, according to the head of public works.
The comments by Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister came in his address at the recent Contractor’s Seminar – the first of its kind.
“We want to make a difference and we know you are counting on the Ministry,” he said.
Minister Bannister remarked that there are “interesting” developments on the horizon in the construction industry. The two most pressing include the commencement and enforcement of the Contractor’s Act, and the Ministry of Finance’s E-Procurement.
“We have an amazing team of professionals at the Ministry of Public Works. You are going to see them doing all kinds of innovative things to make a difference to the professionals that we serve,” he said.
“We are not going to forget that we serve professionals. At the same time, we are going to hold you to the highest standards of professionalism. We recognize that you are professionals and we expect you to be professional.”
He advised the contractors that the success of the Ministry of Works rests in their hands as private sector partners.
“We don’t build anything. We partner with you so that you can make a difference in our country.”
Contractors were warned, however, that the profession is not going to be allowed to operate as the “wild, wild west”.
“It has determined the standards that will apply to you and it’s going to be important to live up to those standards that you as professionals have determined to apply to you,” he said.
“Secondly, with respect to E-Procurement and all of the other procurements that will be put in place, there is not going to be the ability to come to the minister and say, ‘I want a contract’.
“The tendering process we are going to put in place [is] so that you will professionally make your submissions. Those who have the better submissions, and those who are making a difference, are going to be able to get those contracts.”