Dr. Estwick Sets The Record Straight On Molasses Project

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Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick (FP)??

Where’s the squandermania?

That’s the question being asked by Minister of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management, Dr. David Estwick, in response to recent claims about the construction project for molasses tanks at the Bridgetown Port.

Speaking during a press conference last Friday at the Ministry of Agriculture, Graeme Hall, Christ Church, Dr. Estwick said it was "absolutely false" and "misleading" that there was a proposal from Williams Industries to rebuild one tank and repair the other two at a cost of 2.95 million dollars.

He explained that Williams Industries had submitted two financial proposals to the Barbados Agricultural Management Company (BAMC) for the project. In both options, the capital support cost to construct a 12, 000 metric tonne capacity steel tank was Bds $3.995 million.

The breakdown is as follows: construction cost Bds $3.4 million; VAT at 17.5 per cent – Bds $595, 000, with the total cost at $3.995 million. Added to this were the long-term maintenance charges of Bds $30, 000 per year, plus the cost of materials.

He pointed out that PRECONCO’s proposal involved the construction of three concrete tanks – two 12,000 metric tonne and one 8, 000 metric tonne tank – for Bds $12.2 million, or about Bds $4 million per tank.

Dr. Estwick stressed that both projects had similar costs.

"The three concrete tanks in PRECONCO’s proposal are to cost $12, 220 000…Therefore, the cost per tank if you do basic arithmetic is $4, 066 000. Is this not the same cost as proposed by the Williams Industries single molasses tank? So, I ask myself where is the squandermania?"

Dr. Estwick added that government choose the latter option of building three concrete tanks instead of constructing one steel tank and repairing the other two because of the heavy state of disrepair of the structures.

He explained that concrete tanks were also chosen because their maintenance was zero to negligible, as opposed to the Bds $34, 000 per year for the steel tanks proposed by Williams Industries.

In addition, the Agriculture Minister stated that concrete tanks would last around 70 to 90 years, compared to the 20 to 30 years for steel tanks, while concrete tanks were also better suited with regard to height.??

andre.skeete@barbados.gov.bb

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