Thursday, April 18, 2024

Pandor defends NHC contract policies

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FORMER NATIONAL HOUSING CORPORATION (NHC) chairman, Abdul Pandor, says several small contractors were employed by the corporation under his leadership.Pandor, who was replaced by Marilyn Rice-Bowen, in December 2008 after being reassigned, told the SUNDAY SUN yesterday small contractors had been given work at Marchfield, St Philip, French Village, St Peter and Constant, St George, among others, during his association with the NHC.He explained that one of the problems the NHC had during his stint was that of cash flow.“. . . so we entered into joint ventures. My policy was to use a three-tier system where we would do some [houses] with joint partnerships, where those contractors provided the money and when we got the mortgages they would get pay.“Then we went with small contractors and then we went with direct labour. My board and I were very conscious of the need. We inherited a large labour force, $200 000 a month in wages, and we had to keep them employed,” he said.Pandor specifically addressed a housing project at Constant, St George involving CLICO Holdings Barbados Limited.“During my tenure we awarded a contract to CLICO which was a joint venture. They were providing the funds, but one of our agreements with them, which they adhered to, was that they would sub-contract the work to several small contractors.
Win-win situationSo that was a win-win situation,” he said.Pandor, an engineer who stepped down from the chairmanship of the NHC to head Government’s new Drainage Unit in 2008, said he had enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Minister of Housing and Lands, Michael Lashley, during his chairmanship.He noted they would have the occasional difference of opinion on policy but these were always amicably discussed among board members and consensus reached.Rice-Bowen was sacked as NHC chairman on July 31, and yesterday expressed having difficulty with Lashley’s leadership. She cited his “attitude and disposition”, as well as differences in interpretation of established “rules and protocol”, as ultimately leading to an impasse between them. (WG)

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