Belize CITCO hiring street contractors when they can do it themselves Print E-mail
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Friday, 30 November 2018 00:00

On Friday 23rd November 2018, we saw two very strange notices under a Facebook profile with the name Mayor Belize. There is also the words (City Council) as a part of the profile. Based on the past interactions with that account, we know the account belongs to the office of the Mayor of Belize City. Although the two notices were strange, one in particular immediately caught our attention.

The notice was an invitation for bids to tender for the upgrade and resurfacing of streets. No specifications were given in regard to the scope of works that were to be carried out, but the name and contact information of someone from whom that sort of information could be sought. The notice gave the closing date for submitting the bids as being 4:30 pm on Friday 30th December 2018.

That date had us puzzled, because we knew it had to be wrong, because the 30th December 2018 falls on a Sunday, NOT ON A FRIDAY. It was only after the editor of this newspaper pointed that fact out, some three days later on Monday 26th November during the ‘Fus Ting Da Mawnin’ talkshow, that the error was corrected.

However, that correction complicated the issue even more because the closing date to enter bids was then changed to Friday 30th November 2018, thus giving interested companies or individuals just five (5) working days to get the specifications on the scope of works, do on-site checks, evaluation, do check on cost for materials, do labor costings, calculations, compile, edit the bid and then submit it. There would be no time for sitting down with the city engineer or Works manager to discuss things that would alter the design specifications if one were to envision any additional work needed to be done based on what is found on site.

However, the wrong date and eventually the short notice was not the most glaring or strangest thing about the request for bid. The most glaring and strangest thing is that the City Council is looking to outsource these works even though the city council has its own equipment. It also has a trained workforce and the materials are readily available in Belize. When it comes to equipment we know, that just about a year ago the City Council received a brand-new 2016 modern TAR TRUCK (BITUMEN APPLICATOR TRUCK) under the Flood Mitigation Project.

Talking about that tar truck, where is that truck at this time. The last time we remember seeing that truck was when we saw it working when the Link Road was being paved. Had the present City Council continued the with the paving of streets that the last council had brought up to pre-pave standard then we would have been in much better shape when it comes to the condition of our streets.

Looking at all those missteps, it makes us wonder if the city council, has already chosen a special PUP Contractor, to do those street works and the tender process is only a charade, to try to mask another hustle? Then there are the aforementioned equipment, expertise and manpower at the Council. Why subcontract such works if it can be done cheaper in house rather than using outside contractors? We also need to ask, is this going to be one of those Rufus-and Dickie-type operations where the council’s equipment and manpower will be used to feather the contractor’s pocket? And then we must end by once again asking, where is the tar truck? Is it true that it has been loaned out to El Chihuahua?

Editor’s Note: (We made checks at the Works Compound on Tuesday, November 27th and the truck was nowhere to be found. Another check was made on Wednesday, November 28th  and the truck was parked in the compound. It leads us to wonder where the truck was and who was it working for. We are certain that no work was done in Belize City by the truck as there is no evidence of that anywhere in the municipality.)