THE Saint Lucia Labour Party has warned the Saint Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority (SLASPA) of a possible inquiry into the Hewanorra Airport Redevelopment Project should it form the next government.
SLASPA’s failure to open the Hewanorra Airport Redevelopment Project to adequate public scrutiny may necessitate that a future SLP government undertake a thorough examination of the project.” – Pierre
The warning came via a letter from the SLP Political Leader Philip J Pierre to the acting General Manager Daren Cenac dated 26 February, 2019.
Pierre said that his party will neither support nor be a party to the project in its current form unless SLASPA demonstrates the level of transparency expected in the procurement and other procedures relevant to undertake a project of that magnitude.
“SLASPA’s failure to open the Hewanorra Airport Redevelopment Project to adequate public scrutiny may necessitate that a future SLP government undertake a thorough examination of the project, including a forensic audit if considered necessary, to ensure that acceptable standards of public accountability were observed,” stated the letter.
Pierre at a press conference yesterday stated that his party remains convinced that the best option for the redevelopment of the Hewanorra International Airport is the Public-Private Partnership arrangement as envisaged by his party which is now being pursued by the governments of Jamaica and Barbados.
Pierre’s letter to Cenac ended thus: “We trust that you will view the concerns expressed as part of our civic responsibility being exercised in the public interest.”
He reminded Cenac in the letter of SLASPA being a statutory body with a responsibility to the people of Saint Lucia and therefore was obligated to act prudently and in the interest of the people.
“It is the opinion of the Saint Lucia labour Party that the decision to proceed with this project in its current form is neither prudent nor in the country’s best interest,” stated the letter to Cenac.
Pierre said that in the view of his party and that of many citizens, officials of SLASPA should be mindful of their professional reputation. He advised that SLASPA demonstrate that it was in fact taking its responsibilities seriously and immediately make public all relevant information relating to the project, including the procurement procedures which have been undertaken.
The SLP leader says his party is very concerned about the lack of transparency in the current arrangement regarding the redevelopment of Hewanorra International Airport.
He recalled that while in government his administration had embarked on a PPP procurement model with the tendering process being launched on 7 July, 2015 through the issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) which sets out the timetable for the bidding process and the pre-qualification criteria for screening investors.
“The RFQ was advertised in local and international newspapers to attract broad interest. As a consequence of the screening process three pre-qualification applications were submitted. Consistent with the HIA Act an evaluation team was established to assess the applications. The evaluation team pre-qualified three investors. Only three were allowed to receive bid documents and submit a bid. The three pre-qualified bidders were Vinci, Credicor and Asur/Highway. All experienced global airport operators and contractors,” Pierre said, adding that to the best of his knowledge no information has been revealed to indicate that such arrangements have been made with the existing process.