Tenders Board never asked any bidder for clarity – Official
The Central Supplies Tenders Board at no time sent a request to Kelectric Company Limited and Belevedere Place Development to clarify part of a bid that the joint venture submitted.
Hence, accusations of unfair treatment meted out to Bally and Bally Investment Limited’s joint venture, are unwarranted, says an official with knowledge of the situation.
At a news conference last Monday, February 10, managing director of Bally and Bally Investment Ltd, Cameron “Dinky” Balcombe, complained to the media that his bid for the World Bank funded coastal defense works at San Souci, was rejected because of his missing signature on the bid bond.
“The bid Bond was otherwise complete but for my signature, and that was the end of my competitive tender of $8,183,054.35, VAT inclusive. But people, God does not sleep. It came to my attention that in December 2019, the bidder who was selected for the project for $8,515,232.88, VAT inclusive, had multiple omissions relating to its financial situation and performance and its experiences,” Balcombe said.
He claimed that the successful bidder, Kelectric Company Limited and Belevedere Place Development, omitted to provide several pieces of pertinent information, but was allowed to add to their bid, an accusation that has been vehemently denied by someone close to the process.
In the press briefing on Monday, Balcombe said this was not the first time he was being unfairly treated by the Tenders Board.
In 2019 he wrote to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) after his bid for the Yarabaqua River Defense Project failed. The CDC later declared a mis-procurement. Balcombe also contested the Sandy Bay shoreline project.
But on Wednesday February 12, someone with intimate knowledge of the process said that a request for information relating to Kelectric Company Limited and Belevedere Place Development’s bid was not sent to any of the parties, but a memorandum was sent to the Planning Department.
A memo dated December 6, from the secretary of the Central Supplies Tenders Board, and addressed to the Director of Planning, asked for clarification in relation to the bid by Kelectric Company Limited and Belevedere Place Development.
The information needed was in relation to the financial situation and performance, general construction and experience, and specific construction and contract management.
The source said that the document was an internal document, and at no time, did the Planning Department or the Tenders Board ask the bidders to submit information outside of what was already in the bidders’ submissions.
Bid evaluation reports are submitted to the Tenders Board in a grid that outlines for each bidder, the levels of adherence to the bid evaluation criteria that are given to each bidder prior to the bid submission deadline. The December 6 memo, according to the source, was in an effort to get personnel at the Planning Department to go back through the bid documents to clarify the recommendations in the report, and not to contact the bidders for that information.
In relation to the issue of the missing signature, the source said that the bid was closed and the process does not allow for anything to be added to a bid, which has already been submitted. The source said that not only was a signature missing, but Balcombe did not show that he had power of attorney to act on behalf of his joint venture partner, the United Kingdom (UK) based Earlcoat Construction and Plant Hire Ltd.
“Bally and Bally did not provide the required documents to show they could act on behalf of the other company, so the bid became unresponsive,” said the source.
Without the bid security signed, the client (Government), cannot hold the bid winner to the terms and agreement of the project.
On Monday also, Balcombe said he was cheated out of another project, the Sandy Bay Sea Defense Project, but SEARCHLIGHT has been told that was not the case. It was noted that the money to complete that project was not available, so all the bids were eventually turned down, although the contract was initially awarded to someone.
Balcombe said on Monday, that they have studied the tenders process, and it took them three years of submitting documents before they got a contract.
“We started out not even having a binding machine, using bulldog tags to submit our tenders, tenders falling apart because we did not understand the tenders procedure. So, this is not some Johnny come lately, or some people who have had you here to do a press conference that don’t know what they saying.
“We have studied these documents meticulously, we have sacrificed a lot for a company, for a family to make it right, and to make it happen,” said Balcombe who added than he is seeing projects being awarded to entities he thinks do not meet the criteria.
He said his argument is strengthened by the CDB’s response to the Yarabaqua project and now he has written to the World Bank and been assigned a case number.
“We have to make some decisive decisions on how our country is supposed to be run. It is unfair, it is unacceptable. It is unreasonable. It is wickedness it is spitefulness,” Balcombe lamented.
He said he is disappointed that once again, he has to be the focus of the media as that is not his modus operandi, but it has come to a point “where you say enough is enough and no more.”
On Wednesday calls to the Director General of Finance and Planning Edmond Jackson’s office revealed that he was out of office until next week. Acting Director of Planning Recardo Frederick was also out of state and, Minister of Transport and Works, Julian Francis, told SEARCHLIGHT that the project in question does not come under his Ministry.