~Tamara: why no public bidding? ~
PHILIPSBURG–“It is all about local contractors and businesses for this Government until big money is involved,” said Member of Parliament (MP) Tamara Leonard of United People’s party on Sunday as she questioned why Government had chosen a foreign company to supply materials for its multi-million-guilder roof project.
The National Alliance (NA)-led government has approved a total of NAf. 2,987,964 as a pay-out to an international company called IKGN International Inc, the registered agent of which in Orlando, Florida, is Nicole Marie Halley. A national decree has been sent to Governor Eugene Holiday for his approval ahead of the pay-out.
“What I want to know, especially seeing that this is the people’s money, is why no public, open bidding? Yes, Government will probably say it had asked local companies for quotes, but who is to say what was competitive? Yes, Government can also say it’s urgent, but again why no open bidding?” questioned Leonard.
Infrastructure projects executed by governments worldwide, in particular after a disaster, serve not only to rebuild, but to jolt local economies, said Leonard.
“Money, Government’s money or rather the people’s money should benefit them and not be shipped abroad. Think about it: the turnover tax on NAf. 2.9 million is NAf. 149,398.20. That amount does not stay at home, so to speak, when a foreign company is involved. This sets a bad example and tramples on our economic recovery,” she said.
“All the local hardware companies have employees and must pay social premiums – social and health insurance SZV, wage tax, profit tax, ToT. They don’t have a choice, they have to pay come rain, shine or hurricane. But, Government can’t ask no foreign company for a quote on wage tax and SZV. The people of St. Maarten again lose.
“Any government project should be about the people and about rebuilding using the resources of our community. This calculated move by this Government to bleed the country of money and stifle local businesses is tantamount treason.
“All of that said, as an MP and as a citizen of this still-recovering country, I am very curious to know if our Governor has put his signature to this decree to send money out of the country to a company whose registered purpose is business consulting, not construction, instead of keeping it at home to build lives and create hope.”
The decree seeks, based on Article 47 (4) (b) of the National Accountability Ordinance, to allow Government to depart from Article 47 (1) of the National Accountability Ordinance and to enter into an agreement with the company IKGN International Inc. for the purchase of various building materials intended for the repair of roofs of elderly and disabled people.
The Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure VROMI, headed by Minister Christophe Emmanuel, is to be the recipient of the material, according to the decree, to which Finance Minister Richard Gibson is the Government signee.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/71280-naf-3-million-roof-project-goes-to-foreign-based-firm