This is according to government legislator Carvin Malone who debated the bill before the House of Assembly yesterday, November 1.
Malone said as the BVI becomes more compliant with international practices, “A ‘BHD’ — a born-here degree — doesn’t give you the right solely for the approvals of procurement, they have to follow the rules”.
He said this is especially so in instances where funding was coming from non-local funds.
The statement served as a stark but introspective commentary on the status quo that exists in the BVI.
Notwithstanding his comment about ‘born here’ entitlements, the government minister said, “we (the BVI) must never get into the practice of being so modern that your very own people are left out of the mix”.
He said this was something that was being keenly examined, even at the draft stages of the bill, to ensure, “that we don’t modernise our people out of their ability to participate — whether it is with the supply of goods or the supply of services.”
Minister Malone said this was critical in terms of building capacity for the BVI‘s people.
“We must assist our people to get them up on the table,” Malone urged.
Meanwhile, Malone lauded the efforts of units within the Recovery & Development Agency (RDA) and the Premier‘s Office which were offering guidance on procurement practices for contractors.
In developed countries, Malone pointed out, some jobs needed to be bonded at a rate of 100%. This meant that jobs with high ranges, particularly those in the millions, would automatically price out small contractors.
Malone cautioned that if the BVI does not set rules which keep with international best practices with its people involved, then they will remain excluded from profits that come from lucrative projects.
The minister said he appreciated the fact that legislators can examine procurement methods in an effort to level the proverbial playing field.
He added that those persons that have proven themselves already should be given all necessary assistance to get their paperwork in order so they can continue to build a BVI of which all can be proud.