Minister Burch: Sand Bid Was 300% Lower

September 27, 2019

There were two bids for the sand for Port Royal Golf Course — one for $1,815,000 and the other from Island Construction for $546,000 — so as Island Construction’s bid was 300% lower, the Ministry of Public Works’ technical officers determined it was the best value.

This was from Minister of Public Works Lt/Col David Burch who was speaking in the House of Assembly today [Sept 27] about the preparations at the Port Royal Golf Course.

The Minister said, “It’s worth setting out the process for conducting this work. From some of the utterances from those on the other side there is clearly a complete lack of understanding of the procurement process.

“For this exercise – let’s review the procurement process for Bunker Sand at Port Royal,” the Minister said. “Bunker sand is a vital part of any decent golf course and from time to time additional sand has to be procured to keep the course in good shape and in this instance – to meet the stringent PGA standards. It is reasonable to expect that sand is replaced in this manner every 3 to 5 years.

“In this particular case a Request for Proposal for the supply and delivery of 4,000 metric tons of Golf Course quality sand was posted on the Government portal on July 16th, 2019.

“Only 3 companies in Bermuda have imported sand for this purpose – East End Asphalt, Island Construction and Bermuda Stone Company Limited. East End indicated at the outset that they would not be submitting a bid.

“Completed Tenders were received and opened publicly following the closing of bids on July 25th 2019.

“The Ministry received two completed tenders – one from Bermuda Stone Company Limited at a tender price of $1,815,000 and the other from Island Construction Services Ltd. at a tender price of $546,000.

“Island Construction’s bid was 300% lower than the next lowest bidder,” he added. ”Ministry of Public Works’ technical officers determined that the tender submitted by Island Construction Services Ltd. for the proposed works was the best value.”

“As such, it was recommended that the contract for the provision and delivery of Bunker Sand at Port Royal Golf Course, be awarded to Island Construction Services Ltd. in the sum of $ 546,000.

“All of the above actions were carried out and are always carried out without any involvement of the Minister of Public Works. The first time the Minister is made aware of any contract recommendation is when a draft Cabinet Paper and Contract Award Recommendation is submitted for consideration by the Cabinet.

” I have deliberately taken the time this morning to explain the procurement process – not just for the general public’s understanding but for members of the Opposition benches, especially their leader, who as a former Works Minister should be aware of the procurement process, but sadly he has demonstrated an incredible lack of understanding of procurement processes by his repeated public utterances that a sitting minister of the Government should recuse themselves from bidding on government contracts.

“A blind man could see the hypocrisy in such a statement – that was never uttered under either a UBP or OBA government that he led with sitting Ministers whose companies successfully bid on Government contracts or were simply arbitrarily awarded them.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Good Morning Mr. Acting Speaker.

As you know we are just a few weeks away from hosting our first-ever mainstream PGA Tour event, the Bermuda Championship so I rise this morning to provide an update on preparations at the Port Royal Golf Course.

Before doing that however, Mr. Acting Speaker, it’s worth setting out the process for conducting this work. From some of the utterances from those on the other side there is clearly a complete lack of understanding of the procurement process. No surprise there though, as we all know that when they were in Government they simply chose if and when to ignore those processes that were designed to guarantee transparency in procurement.

For this exercise – let’s review the procurement process for Bunker Sand at Port Royal. Mr. Acting Speaker, you will know that I am not a golfer but I am advised that Bunker sand is a vital part of any decent golf course and from time to time additional sand has to be procured to keep the course in good shape and in this instance – to meet the stringent PGA standards. It is reasonable to expect that sand is replaced in this manner every 3 to 5 years.

In this particular case a Request for Proposal for the supply and delivery of 4,000 metric tons of Golf Course quality sand was posted on the Government portal on July 16th, 2019.

Mr. Acting Speaker, I am further advised that heretofore – only 3 companies in Bermuda have imported sand for this purpose – East End Asphalt, Island Construction and Bermuda Stone Company Limited. East End indicated at the outset that they would not be submitting a bid.

Completed Tenders were received and opened publicly following the closing of bids on July 25th 2019.

Mr. Acting Speaker, the Ministry received two completed tenders – one from Bermuda Stone Company Limited at a tender price of $1,815,000 and the other from Island Construction Services Ltd. at a tender price of $546,000.

The Ministry of Public Works estimate was $588,397.50.

Island Construction’s bid was 300% lower than the next lowest bidder and 7% lower than the Ministry of Public Works’ estimate.

Mr. Acting Speaker, the tenders were checked for arithmetical accuracy and financial quality, bidder interviews were conducted by the Chief Engineer and the Senior Structural Engineer. Tenders were rated by each member of the evaluation team and an average rating was determined using the criteria set out in the Tender documents.

Ministry of Public Works’ technical officers determined that the tender submitted by Island Construction Services Ltd. for the proposed works was the best value, they displayed their understanding of the Ministry’s requirements and budgeted accordingly – while maintaining a competitive price. As a result it was deemed the submitted price is competitive and the overall quality of their submission was adequate.

As such, it was recommended that the contract for the provision and delivery of Bunker Sand at Port Royal Golf Course, be awarded to Island Construction Services Ltd. in the sum of $ 546,000.

Mr. Acting Speaker, all of the above actions were carried out and are always carried out without any involvement of the Minister of Public Works. The first time the Minister is made aware of any contract recommendation is when a draft Cabinet Paper and Contract Award Recommendation is submitted for consideration by the Cabinet.

Mr. Acting Speaker, I have deliberately taken the time this morning to explain the procurement process – not just for the general public’s understanding but for members of the Opposition benches, especially their leader, who as a former Works Minister should be aware of the procurement process, but sadly he has demonstrated an incredible lack of understanding of procurement processes by his repeated public utterances that a sitting minister of the Government should recuse themselves from bidding on government contracts. Mr. Acting Speaker, a blind man could see the hypocrisy in such a statement – that was never uttered under either a UBP or OBA government that he led with sitting Ministers whose companies successfully bid on Government contracts or were simply arbitrarily awarded them.

Now, Mr. Acting Speaker, let me turn to the current state of play at Port Royal. I can report that excitement is growing for the tournament and staff at Port Royal are working flat out to make this tournament a success.

This is a combined effort of not just the Ministries of Public Works & Tourism & Transport but many other local entities not associated with Port Royal. As an example – during a recent tour of the St. Regis Hotel & Golf Course in St. Georges – the developers Mr. Miguel & Ms. Laura Purroy offered the help of their resident agronomist. Additionally, they have indicated that the full complement of staff will be at Port Royal for the week of the tournament to assist in any way they can. Their view is that the benefits of this tournament will help tourism and all golf courses on Island.

Mr. Acting Speaker, needless to say the recent hurricane has caused some damage to foliage on the course but I can report that much of the bunker work was not been impacted and progress on the remaining bunkers is proceeding apace with the 9 back holes being completed thus far.

Additional personnel from the Department of Parks, the Skills Development Programme and the BHC’s Hustle Truck have been pressed into service to assist with the removal of trees felled during the recent hurricane and general clean up.

As well 11 unemployed individuals from the West End have been hired to work on the course.

While the budget for course improvements is being sourced jointly from internal ministry resources – the approach is one of carving out regular operational costing versus specific PGA costs. At this stage the bunker sand is the most expensive item – which would have been required with or without the PGA event. I would add, Mr. Acting Speaker, that we have brought enough sand to stockpile replenishments for future years.

I would also like to remind that this is a 5 year commitment – so budgeting will be spread out for the entire period to continue enhancements to the golf course to not only benefit the PGA event but all users of the course.

The entire team led by Bruno Event Team – the organizers of the tournament here in Bermuda have been meeting weekly with all the players from Port Royal, the BTA, Department of Planning, Department of Health, the Ministries of Public Works and Tourism & Transport to coordinate all aspects of the tournament. In order to enhance the coordination of the Governments support we are assigning and posting to Port Royal one of our young engineers, Ricardo Graham-Ward to be onsite to manage any challenges leading up to the tournament.

Mr. Acting Speaker, every day someone else is offering assistance to make this a success for Bermuda but what is most impressive about preparations for this tournament is the absolute enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of the Board, management and staff at Port Royal. The staff in particular – have taken ownership of this venture and are personally vested in ensuring its success. Anyone who visits Port Royal and engages with them will readily experience their enthusiasm. I wish to publicly thank them for all their efforts in making this a success and to record that we sincerely appreciate their commitment.

Thank you, Mr. Acting Speaker.

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Comments (32)

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  1. Ringmaster says:

    There is something very wrong if the bid was 300% lower then the rest. Is it a fixed price or just a bid to get the job then jack up the price later? Is it the the sand that was paid for when Port Royal was last improved but not used? So many questions but none will be answered. The tax payers will never know and will get shafted again.

  2. Paul says:

    does anyone believe what the Col said ?

    • OMG says:

      Don’t believe anything this guy says.

    • Safety First says:

      I trust that he is telling the truth. I know one contractor that didn’t bother submitting because they felt the contract would be handed to friends anyway.

      However, Burt forgets that he has omitted the fact that the last time ICS was awarded a contract at this same property and they were “low bidder” – that project went 24 million dollars OVER budget. That is what most people are afraid of. So Min Burch, forgive us if we distrust the process. We have historical reason to!

  3. Kevin says:

    interesting that East End didn’t quote question why also interesting that the quote was for 4000 tonnes at $546,000 that’s $136.50 a tonne was that to Port Royal or to the Dock and then did IC get the contract to truck it to PR don’t know little facts are given but this price is quite lower than expected for sure also interesting that IC was actually doing the work on the course …being a government operation why didn’t their own Public works do the work with PR staff supervision…begs to ask friends and family continues I guess 12 million to 22 million wasn’t enough the first time

  4. OBA go lay down, ya had a monopoly on contracts since ubp days up until ya @$$€$ got voted out.

    • Mark says:

      As always we can count on you for as daily dose of ignorance and stupidity. Why don’t you volunteer to dive golf balls out of the pond at Port Royal in a lightening storm?

  5. Huh says:

    300% lower??? Ok mathematically that makes no sense. Closer to 70% lower.

  6. steve says:

    300%??? LOL I work in the construction industry a good bid is within 5-10%.
    Did you question any of this? Oh wait a second…never mind.

  7. booster says:

    That’s fine. Let’s see what the total payment comes to. OPMP are all PLP voters. It’s not rocket science.

  8. Rainman says:

    600,000 is 70% less than 1,800,000.

    300% sounded good though right?

    • Truthhertz says:

      So Zane paid the bermuda government to bring in the sand apparently.

      Brilliant job PLP

      #burchmath

    • aceboy says:

      Just get it out there as a headline and it will be repeated until considered gospel.

    • Mr JIp says:

      1,800,000 is 300% greater than 600,000

      percentages are funny like that

      • question says:

        Actually, no. $1.8m is 200% greater than $600k. Not 300% greater.

  9. Question says:

    Somebody needs to let Burch know how to calculate percentages. The bid was not “300% lower”. If the numbers here are right, it was 70% lower. Why do they have to lie all the time?

  10. Stevie says:

    If you believe what the plp say then what planet are you on. Clue less.

  11. Joe Bloggs says:

    The Lt. Col. is in perpetual election mode and he scores political points. He scored some points with this in spite of the math.

  12. Me says:

    So it wAs the best of a bad lot then

  13. Trump supporter says:

    These guys are clueless, wait to the overruns come. Well it needed this and that ….
    I’m going on a cruise,later.

    • WHAT? says:

      Your UBP aka oba is clueless and you wasted paper changing the name.

      Now the tax payers have to provide a guarantee of up to $165 million for the Morgan’s Point project and you wonder why a third party has to be created.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        The UBP did not change its name to OBA and if you actually lived in Bermuda you would know that.

        On the brighter side, given that ICS’s bid is 300% less than the $1.8 million bid, ICS will be PAYING Government $3.6 million for the the privilege of supplying the sand!

    • Hmmm says:

      Exactly what I was thinking… what necessary item has be carefully excluded from the bid and will cost 1.5 Million

  14. 2bermudaz says:

    I listened to the house and burch admitted there was no set budget for the port royal work!

  15. Warwick West says:

    Yup was waaaay lower…..yipee. But wait for the so called “unexpected” costs overruns.!!!! This not the end of this story folks! Sit back and watch as it morphs into the ‘real’ costs at the end.

  16. Onion_peels says:

    If you think his math is bad now, just remember the government recently waived the licensing requirements for two math teachers in the public school system.

    It’s going to get a lot worse.

  17. Y-GURL says:

    does anyone except Burch believe what Burch says, so bids come into government and Zane gets the jobs, you have to question who sees the bids

  18. Cow polly says:

    I hope that there is a firm ceiling attached to this contract on overruns etc. anyone can put in a low quote but it’s the actual cost that counts and this Minister is very well known for his over runs

  19. Triangle Drifter says:

    This only shows how low the standard is to be a PPL Minister. 300% lower. Is Zane actually Paying Government to do the work? To think that this guy actually made a career on the taxpayer’s dime.

  20. Charlly X says:

    Hmmm?……
    I think the government is buying there own sand back ! That’s why they can bid so low ……. Hmmm?

  21. Preview says:

    I think a better way of saying this would have been that the competing bid at $1,815,000 was $1,269,000 or 232% higher than that of ICS at $546,000.

    Probably not purposely misstated, just some loose math. You wouldn’t calculate the incremental cost by dividing $1,815 by $546, thus 332%.