Letters & Opinion

He That Filches My Good Name — Part Two

Image of David Prescod
By David Prescod

LAST WEEK, I described my reluctance to express opinions in these articles, choosing instead to provide the background information and allowing you to come to your own conclusions.

I also referred then to an online comment on the article, “St. Jude and the Art of the Con – Part 4”, which stated that it was “clothed with inaccuracies”. I pointed to the inescapable conclusion to be drawn from this statement that I had deliberately cloaked my argument in inaccuracies so as to promote an agenda. In ending the comment, the author, Mr. John Peters, admonished that I should make my point, but be accurate.

I responded to Mr. Peters online, correcting him and inviting him to point out any other supposed inaccuracies that he had found. He has not, but the damage is done as this opinion is in the public domain, and this is how reputations are destroyed.

This is not a spat between two aging engineers, but it is at the very heart of the fight for the soul of this nation and explains my reluctance to simply offer opinions. Because, in giving me “permission” to make my point, Mr. Peters highlights the issue with being opinionated — Mr. Peters is an engineer, and so readers might be encouraged to rely on his opinion even when there is no factual basis for doing so. So, I present the documented facts for the record and invite you to draw your own conclusion.

The statement in that article which Mr. Peters took exception to is this: “Notwithstanding that the notice of suspension does not conform to the requirement of the contract, (56 days notice is required), the reason given for termination of the consultant is not valid, as a need to review the project would necessitate suspension of the consultant’s services, not termination.”

This is Mr. Peters’ online comment: “The article is clothed with inaccuracies. The termination letter which was attached to the Report indicated that it was dated July 6th advising termination on September 3rd, which is in fact 58 days, more than the requirement under FIDIC Clause 27. Also, Clause 27 includes suspension and termination and thus the comments that the termination was not in accordance with the contract is an unfortunate inaccuracy by Mr. Prescod. Make your point but stay accurate, my friend.”

This is my online reply: “I can only advise that you re-read the article as there are no inaccuracies contained in it. I also trust that your misguided comment arises from haste.”

I have not stated that termination was not in accordance with the contract. Rather, I have stated that suspension was not in accordance.

You are correct that Clause 27 of the contract refers to both termination and suspension and, if you read it, you might notice that it makes no distinction between suspension and termination in respect of the notice required – it states that “The Client may suspend…or terminate the agreement by notice of at least 56 days to the Consultant”.

The Government’s correspondence dated July 6, 2016 suspends the Consultant’s services effective July 11 – five days’ notice is provided. There is no inaccuracy in the article, but the bigger point which your criticism may mask to others is that suspension of the consultant was required during the period of investigation unless this 10-day-old administration had a reason for termination – none has been provided, which is why you also should be demanding that the Audit report be published.

You also stated that the article is clothed with inaccuracies. I would greatly appreciate it if you would identify those inaccuracies, as otherwise you also will be guilty of misleading the public.

Rather than acknowledge his error, Mr. Peters replied online suggesting, erroneously, that the notice of suspension could not refer to Halcrow, which is also beside the point, and suggesting that I may have ulterior reasons for defending Halcrow. He does not identify any inaccuracies in my article.

Mr. Peters has previously expressed his views on the findings of the Technical Audit and on the performance of the Consultant, and asks rhetorically: “So is the Technical Audit completely wrong or has Halcrow failed in its contractual responsibility of duty of care …?” (The VOICE, May 6, 2017). While the implication of his question is obvious, I have merely pointed out that until that question is answered, there can be no basis for this Government’s termination of Halcrow last July.

Mr. Peters is entitled to his views, but he is not allowed to twist my statements in order to advance those views; neither is he allowed to smugly denigrate my character by making unfounded imputations of motive on my part. My concern in this matter remains with governance.

Because, if Government can terminate a “branded” consultant like Halcrow before establishing cause, what do you think is likely to happen to you and me?

So, keep demanding publication of that Technical Audit, and keep demanding that Government’s termination of Halcrow be reviewed in Court.


  1. David
    September 2009, fire destroyed the surgical wing of St. Jude’s Hospital. The then government secured the services of a consultant “branded” The Halcrow Group. Government announce a reconstruction cost of EC $34 Million, and an approximate fix time to complete. The assumption here is, the consultant had an input in reaching that reconstruction conclusion. The cost estimate jump exponentially with time from EC$34 Million in 2009, to EC$46Million, to EC$59Million, to EC$118Million in 2016 and further EC$1 Million dollar audit report to tell us an additional EC$100 Million is needed to completely with no fix time frame.
    Hence my disappointment in you….The roll of the consultant is to represent the client from start to finish and amongst other responsibilities avoiding cost overruns. To ensure value engineering to sum it up nicely. Here we are five (5) years later with, EC$118 Million reconstruction cost plus EC$1Million Audit report. The structure is incomplete and a further EC$100Million is needed to make good. To add insult to injury, it was also revealed: THERE ARE NO WORKING DRAWINGS. Approved or otherwise from the DCA.
    Has the consultant performed as expected? What more must be established before hauling Mandish Sing before the kangaroo court we have here and altimately marching him to Her Majsety Prison. What more had to be established before terminating The Halcrow Group???
    You made the statement, please provide some guidance here.

    1. NY, the argument is much simpler. Even assuming that all of the allegations are correct, in proposing the Audit Government implied that a fact finding mission was required. On what basis then was the consultant fired?

      Part 3 of this Article describes the progression in cost of this project, indicates that those increases were brought before Parliament, and that the scope of the project had changed. There is no media record of any challenges to those increases, yet you now speak of cost over-runs? And what has led you to believe that EC$100m is required to complete St. Jude other than a statement in the Audit which gives no indication of how that figure was arrived at or what it is to be spent on other than a suggestion that significant reconfiguration of the project was required?

      You also state boldly that there are no working drawings, but how do you know this? Not from the Audit, because this is what it has to say:

      Sec. 2.8.5 Design and Construction Drawings
      “It is assumed that the design drawings are representative of the built facility. Any
      observed deviations in the as-build (sic) conditions will be assumed to be departures.” (pg 17).

      “Design drawings” = working drawings. The Audit confirms that design drawings are available, yet the public is of the opinion that working drawings are not available?

      You also define the role of the consultant, but why is the Government supervisory structure within which the consultant functioned not also under investigation. What we have is de facto acceptance of the consultant’s performance by one administration, (there is no public challenge on record), and then immediate termination of that consultant following a change of government – why?

      You speak of a “kangaroo court” and this is the point – proper procedure must be followed, especially by Government. So, demand that the Audit be made public as then everyone may get their wish.

  2. Simply stated, your cliquey, snobbish and elitist ‘we’re engineers’ related comments are astonishingly pompous.

    You claim to be an “engineer”. You very carefully relate how Mr. Peters is allegedly and “engineer”.

    So what?

    Does that make either your opinion or his opinion more valuable, insightful, useful, or valuable than literally anyone else’s opinion or insight.

    You allegedly graduated as an “engineer”

    Congratulations, you were able to follow a structure of team-supported book-learning.

    It does not make you special.

    It does not make you a snowflake.

    It does not make you a member of an exclusive club or make your word any more special than *anyone* else.

    If you were one of the tightly knit engineering student body, you were also able to depend on class-mates for cut-and-paste, use of assignments from elder students in higher years else graduated, and intense late evening sessions at the library reading the published past five years of exams which barely change save and accept for numbers and names.

    Please stop the groundless, elitist-I’m-an-engineer-high-horse postering.

    Simply stated, most of your readers don’t likely care about your book-learning degree(s) or the letters after your name.

    Unfortunately, letters after one’s name make for nice reading on framed degrees and eligibility for membership in professional associations, but that is all.

    Engineers have an admirable reputation as being humble, the Sons of Martha, and not waving it around for an attempt at unjustified cred, as do other certain members of other professions.

    And, this is written as a post-grad engineer who does not use any letters after their name, does not wave the engineer flag in the same seemingly insecure way that you seem to do, and, rather, simply chooses instead to be judged as simply myself and as a person. Plain and simple.

    You might want to be a bit more humble about your book learning.

    As previously stated, you are not a snowflake and special because of the degree you claim to have.

      1. If you ever get annoyed, look at them, they’re “self employed”, they love to work at nothing all day.

  3. @ Calvin
    Dear Oh Dear…….You remind me of a a giant…burly town blacksmith…..he was affectionately called GO DAN ….actually lived and set up shop perpendicular to CO CO Dan ….less than 2 kilometers as the Crow flies……..he was quite a towering , huge ….physically imposing hunk of natural humanity………but that’s where the paper tiger comparisons to you Calvin Ole buoy in the Conway inlet….part company…..
    Mr GO DAN for all his intimidating physical presence was one of the kindest of men …with the highest ceiling for tolerating frustration …….I have ever known. Imagine sitting calmly next to a bellowing open furnace,…at midday…inn the tropical zenith….hammering a piece of hot iron into shape…….NO FAN..
    Unlike this significant other……..you Calvin …..come across like a bag of hot acrid belch……..
    and you Johnny come lately to lick a canine wishbone esq-quisitely!
    Well well a lil Piccadily Circus gin & tonic has you in a real London Fog
    You two court jesters to her QE11’s Royal Kennels. wanna mimic BaaJuhn (trini) Peters liming swag………
    Youse need more practice ihn order to polish (think Brasso) his inherent Conway Stealth 🙂
    Thankfully, by glaring contrast…..
    Mr Prescod’s writing remains more convincing -if not compelling……….its the stuff of optimism …… for a new dawn …for authentic nation building.
    Tally Ho! ….

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