Richardson says authorities not handling bids correctly

MARIGOT–District six representative Georges Richardson said he believes the Collectivité is not handling public tenders fairly or correctly, after he was of the opinion the district won a bid for a garbage bin contract and was then apparently denied.

“After we submitted our bid we received a letter from the Collectivité saying it was going to keep the contract internally,” he said. “To me this is a joke because the Collectivité must have known in advance it was going to keep the bid internally, so why put it out?”

Richardson said in his opinion a “twisted ideology” is out to hinder the work of his associations, but Sandy Ground on the Move will continue with determination to put social and insertion projects out there to help young people reintegrate into society.

“It seems someone wants to weaken us economically, bypass Sandy Ground on the Move and cut off our funding, but we are the ones that do insertion professionally. When a formula is working you don’t change it. We are the pioneers of setting the standards and guidelines. It’s not about self; it’s about helping our young people and our elderly.”

 He added another bid was submitted by the district to clear Sargassum weed from the beaches. “My director worked very hard on submitting that dossier only to receive a call from the Collectivité saying the Préfecture had deemed Sandy Ground on the Move did not have the competence to bid on that.

“We then re-submitted the bid under the Association Aim for Success, but were told another association had been awarded it to help it prosper.”

On another issue, he said the district was called to a meeting by the Collectivité on November 27, 2017, and work on sport facilities must stop on November 30, without compensation for what was done.

“So, there is no money to fulfil your responsibility to a legal association, but at the same time you are making sure another association that I believe is not legally registered gets the job. What is going on in this country? Are we trying to destroy the young people of this country to fill up the jail in Guadeloupe? Already 50 per cent of the prisoners there are from St. Martin.”

He reminded about the convention signed two years ago with the prison in Guadeloupe whereby youngsters coming out of prison would pass through Sandy Ground on the Move before they can find employment.

Richardson added he wrote a letter to the Préfecture asking it to clarify what his associations need to do to hire young people.

“Who is benefitting from these small associations that have just come on the scene after Irma? These are questions we are asking. France has a responsibility not only to give St. Martin money, but to investigate wrongdoing.”

No immediate response to Richardson’s allegations could be obtained from Vice-President Valerie Damaseau who is in charge of district councils as she is currently off island.

Source: The Daily Herald