Govt to 'move quickly' on Contractors Board

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

The Government and Bahamian Contractors Association (BCA) are in talks over the appointment of the Contractors Board, which will oversee enforcement of the the sector's governing law.

Desmond Bannister, minister of works, told Tribune Business: "We are discussing that with the contractors now. I was out of the country for the last two weeks. We are discussing it with the contractors who have put their suggestions forward. We intend to move as quickly as we can. The challenge is not so much the board; the challenge is putting subsidiary legislation in place. That's going to happen soon."

The BCA earlier this year revised its list of nominees after the initial one was deemed not sufficiently diversified to represent all the sector's different trades and professions. Mr Bannister had previously told this newspaper that while the BCA was supposed to nominate six members from various disciplines within the construction industry, its only prior submission lacked the necessary variety.

The Contractors Act, when enforced, will introduce a system of licensing and self-regulation, where Bahamian contractors are certified according to their qualifications and scale/scope of work they are capable of undertaking. This would place them on a 'level playing field' with foreign contractors, enabling them to better compete for multi-million dollar contracts on foreign direct investment (FDI) projects that come to The Bahamas because their capabilities are certified.

The Act also includes provisions giving Bahamian consumers means of redress, and protection, against shoddy workmanship by so-called "cowboy contractors" - something that has been a frequent complaint among residents.