Saturday, September 2, 2017


International and multilateral anti-corruption agencies have identified public procurement as a major stumping ground for government corruption, favoritism, bribery and cronyism. The Dominica Labor Party government led by Roosevelt Skerrit has shown no effort in cooperating with anti-corruption initiatives and instead what we continue to see is more brazen and audacious corruption activities in the public procurement system .Instead of employing model systems with strict law enforcement measures to cleanup the cesspool in the government procurement procedures PM Roosevelt Skerrit continue to offer dog whistle and dubious leadership in the fight against corruption.We have been waiting for 15 years to hear PM Roosevelt Skerrit make a convincing statement or a simple sentence about corruption but alas we might as well ask the devil to put some holy water in his mouth.

Existing Post Office
The timid statements by PM Skerrit and the minister Catherine Daniel against the continuous fraud in the public procurement system was simply an effort to forestall public outrage against facilitated political bribery and the continuous fraud that is occurring in the local government organizations.But as we often say – the devil can’t correct sin and so the kleptocratic Prime Minister does not have the moral prerogative to be convincing and authoritative against any kind of malfeasance within his cabinet, central government, local government or any other government controlled institution.

Mr. Skerrit tactfully targeted a shady contractor who fraudulently provided used toilets on new construction project however Mr. Skerrit know very well that the problem is way deeper than just the fraudulent contractor and his used toilet scheme. The problem stems from the fact that the PM continues to show no gumption and offers no solution to combat the fraud and corruption in government while he himself lead a criminal enterprise. He barks “fix it” from behind closed doors while he continues to facilitate bribery and cronyism- he is totally responsible for the incompetent and thieving contractors.   

Unfinished Post Office
Most of us will remember the money laundering garbage bin scheme, popularly known as the Garbage Bin Bobol. Mr. Skerrit and one of his ministers were directly involved in scheming over $500,000 from the treasury ,through the procurement of overpriced and fraudulent garbage bins.

We also have the disgraceful Post Office renovation contract that Mr. Skerrit and his administration have not spoken about since 2013. It is more than four years since the Post Office building renovation project started and today the incomplete post office building remain a monstrosity on the waterfront in the city of Roseau and the contractor, one of the DLP cronies seem unaccountable for the failed post office renovation project and $3 Million of tax payers money.

In a MiTC article (Another No Bid Contract) it was reported that over $360,000 progress payment was requested by one of Mr. Skerrit’s hand selected contractor from Viellecase, for the construction of a simple road crossing box culvert in the Capuchin area. Experts estimated the true cost of the project to be about $110K-130K. It is astounding that a contract was awarded to a contractor Victor Roberts for the construction of a NEW bridge in the Castle Bruce constituency but a simple box culvert in the Capuchin area a progress bill for $360K was submitted and approved.  

There are numerous  examples of blatant corruption in Mr. Skerrit’s Public Procurement system however we would like the public to know of the company name Primrose that seem to be consistently performing government construction contracts. It is alleged that this company is owned by Hamid Leblanc- A separate gig from Hamid's concrete truck operation. We also understand that a gentleman aka “Bakes” may also be part owner of this company. Hamid Leblanc is the adopted brother and close cousin of PM Roosevelt Skerrit and Bakes an avid election campaign agent for the DLP party, also a former car rental owner and also now involved in the Layou River Sand commercial operation. We are particularly concerned about the fact that none of these gentlemen are versed in construction or qualified construction professionals.

Hamid Standing First From Left
What system does Primrose have in place to insure Quality Control?

Does Primrose employ professionals to help them deliver projects and does the government procurement system overlook the contractor prequalification procedures just to facilitate special interest companies such as Primrose – a Hamid and Bakes collaboration?

Was the Grand Fond playing field project delay due to the incompetence of Bakes and Hamid?

Does the Prime Minister have any interest in Primrose? 

BAM Procurement Questionable???
MiTC has also been concerned about the procurement system for the BAM feeder road rehabilitation projects. In May of 2016 three contracts were signed for feeder road rehabilitation and one for the rehabilitation of access road to the Londonderry Tissue Culture Weaning and Hardening Facility. The three contracts were awarded to Philippe Val  for Lot 1, Charles Daher  Lot 2 and Roland Coursil for Lot 3. The twenty million dollar project is funded by the European Union through the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM).

We noticed that the Public Works Corporation had not been successful in winning any of these contracts even with inherent bid advantages such as a much smaller mobilization cost, familiarity with the terrain, local experience in road construction, ownership of a high tech road paving equipment and access to the asphalt concrete plant. We decided to dig into the matter and during our investigation we found out that one of the companies that was awarded a BAM contract has had a very checkered past. In fact the company resurfaced after many years of dormancy and is now operating in Dominica under two owners-allegedly one a convicted criminal and the other an ex-police officer.

Upon uncovering the information we made a few calls to our anticorruption colleagues in the region where the company originated. Our contacts were shocked that this company and its operators had resurfaced in Dominica. Without even doing a research or a follow up call our contacts immediately informed us of the company’s sordid reputation. This particular company had been involved in numerous scandals. There were numerous complains of fraudulent activities to include services that were paid for in advance and never delivered. In fact we were in contact with one victim who stated that after paying more than $8000 for material delivery the same company disappeared and went into oblivion. Even up to today the victim has not been reimbursed.

The question is- was this company and its current owners vetted during the prequalification process? We sincerely hope that the BAM officials in Barbados will take note and insure integrity and transparency during the execution of the road rehabilitation project. We certainly hope that the politicians in government did not play any part in circumventing any due diligence process that may have been required during the contractor prequalification process.

The BAM office must also insure that employees  do not operate the BAM vehicles like their personal properties. We are particularly referring to vehicle Registration # GA 597 with dark tints and is being operated by Nicholls Shanks Esprit running around and having night and weekend rendezvous. The European Union does not condone such corrupt behavior .

We are also still awaiting a response on the Brand new BAM excavator that was being used by a DLP crony for private gigs. See MiTC article “The BAM Office Tired of Corruption at MOA

Fix Skerrit First
If Mr. Skerrit and or Catherin Daniel are serious about fixing the corrupt public procurement system and the debauchery in the local government organizations they must allow the audit and oversight institutions of government to function in ways that would allow for the best value procurement procedures. We would also like to see the empowerment of the citizens to the point that citizens demand lucidity and accountability with government spending. The wanton distribution of public funds for phantom small businesses must also be frowned upon particularly as the funds does not transmit into small business development. We are sure that Dr. John Toussaint can say amen to that since he headed an agro business development unit that reported 98% delinquency on over over $1 Million in small business loans.

If Mr. Skerrit and his cronies can account for the millions of dollars that have been schemed off the Public Procurement system then we will recommend that the Red Toilet Police Reginald Austrie arrest that disgraceful used toilet contractor that Mr. Skerrit picked on.

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  1. The BAM funds did a road in Syndicate it is approximately 1.2 Kilometers of concrete road that ends abruptly.This is the road Skeritt made a priority instead of doing the Salisbury road .I wonder how much it costed and who the Contractor was?Why was it done before the Salisbury road ? Wicked souls shall suffer the consequencies of their actions!

  2. As usual, this is a well-written piece, a few grammatical errors notwithstanding.

  3. You made reference to a Bridge being built in Castle Bruce but no mention of the details of this particular project in terms of cost, pre qualification of the said contractor and whether this particular project was even tendered. can you do an investigation on this particular project?


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