As of Tuesday, September 6, 2022
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE former chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) said when he was involved in the entity, officials tried as best they could to keep sufficient records.
John Michael Clarke told The Tribune yesterday he does not think anybody is deliberately hiding anything but is sure, with careful investigation, those records can be easily found.
He was responding to claims reported in a local daily that the DRA has not been able to find paperwork for the Minnis administration’s dome initiative.
However, Alex Storr, the current DRA executive chairman, clarified the issue, saying while there is a contract for the dome project, there is no individual customs or other paperwork detailing the individual dome’s price.
“What it is, is that on the domes, I have a contract that was given for the installation of the domes that included an industrial kitchen, and what they were calling a dome city at a time that’s quite different than what was actually done.
“But I have no customs paperwork or no other paperwork that tells me how much each dome costs. So I have no invoice for the purchase of a dome because it was done through a contractor.
“So after the contractor walked away from the job and turned the items over to the DRA, there’s no way for me to say an installed dome is worth, let’s say $12,000 or what? Because I have none of that paperwork. I just have the actual costing that we paid on the contract, which would include installation, the contractor’s markup and many other different costs associated with the project.”
He also said: “I have paperwork that tells me that we should have items in our inventory associated with the domes and the dome project, but we have not been able to locate those items.”
When contacted, Mr Clarke said “we have to trust” that people in government are sensible enough to keep proper records.
Asked about the accusation, he replied: “I can’t even fathom a response, but all I can say is that as far as when I was involved, as best as we were able, we tried to keep sufficient records so that those that come after us would be able to continue to execute the work of recovery and reconstruction.”
As for if the government contacted him to see where the paperwork is, Mr Clarke said: “To date, nobody’s asked me for it, but you know the thing is that’s why you keep records. I don’t think anybody is deliberately hiding anything, but I am sure with careful investigation those records are easily found.”
Mr Clarke also said: “You know, from my vantage point, every Bahamian in the disaster is trying to do the best that they absolutely can – it’s a disaster.”
The owner(s) of the company contracted to supply and install the Domes should be interrogated by law enforcement and, if need be, arrested and charged with theft of public (taxpayer) funds. And how is it we don’t know who are the owner(s) of the contracted company and the total contract amount?
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