Government is making a fresh bid to house Barbadians at Constant, St. George, more than two years after the last effort became embroiled in political and financial controversy.
The Freundel Stuart administration has reportedly received permission from the Inter-American Development Bank to use funds from the $60 million first phase of the Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme to “construct” 29 “starter homes” on Crown lands managed by the National Housing Corporation.
In a tender notice issued in recent days, Government has invited firms to bid for the chance to build the houses under a 12 month contract. They have until October 24 to submit the relevant documentation, in addition to $75, 000 in “bid security”.
“The Government of Barbados has received financing from the Inter-American Development Bank and intends to apply part of the proceeds to payments under the project Housing and Neighbourhood Upgrading Programme for the engagement of a contracting firm or firms to construct a total of 29…starter homes in three lots at Constant, St. George,” the tender documents stated.
“Lot one… construction of nine starter houses, …lot …two construction of 10 starter houses …lot three …construction of 10 starter houses.
“The Ministry of Housing and Lands now invites sealed bids from eligible bidders for construction of the 29 houses in three lots as set out,” it added.
To be successful, contractors were required to have experience in the construction of at least one project “with similar building construction during then past five years as well as liquid asset and/or credit facilities of $100, 000 per lot”.
While no mention was made of the previous Constant effort, officials will be hoping to avoid the contention and controversy of 2010, which included the resignation of the NHC Chairman Marilyn Rice-Bowen, and a public campaign for answers about the way the venture financed by CLICO was being executed by then Opposition Leader Mia Mottley.
The original Constant project, which included the construction of 65 houses, has a number of finished homes, none of which were ever occupied. There was to have been the construction a sewage treatment facility to enable this.
Mottley had said the project was $1.2 million over budget and its future finances were unclear.
“We need to know under the contract who is responsible for the delays, who is responsible for the cost overruns, who is responsible for the infrastructure work going from $900,000 to just about $2.7 million, an increase of over 200 per cent,” Mottley said then.
In response, Lashley said the joint venture project had been fully endorsed by the then NHC board of directors and there was a finance contract in place.