Britain halts funding for another project in Montserrat

BRADES, Montserrat, Monday May 13, 2013 – Less than a week after Britain suspended funding for a major road project here, London is now suspending further funding for the restructuring of the Public Works Mechanical Workshop Project.

Financial Secretary John Skerritt said he is now being “brought up to speed on the status of issues” which led to the Department for International Development’s (DFID) decision.

Recently, DFID halted funds for the road project that the Rueben Meade government said would cost an estimated EC$23.1 million (one EC dollar = US$0.37 cents) citing improper accounting and an absence of a clear plan of action by the government on the project.

DFID Resident Representative Kat Kimbugwe announced last week that the funds for the public works project had been suspended pending the outcome of an audit being conducted by the Office of the Auditor General.

He said the government (GoM) had written to DFID “informing us of an ongoing investigation into procurement practices in the implementation of this project.

“GoM requested technical assistance to support an audit of the project. An independent procurement audit was commissioned and conducted by the Auditor General in January 2013. While we await the outcome of the audit, DFID has suspended any further funding of the project,” he added.

Skerritt said he is in contact with the relevant department heads to ascertain the status of the audit and also any outstanding issues at public works and necessary plans are being made to ensure that the project can get back on stream in the shortest possible time.

In the interim, DFID said it will conduct an annual review of the project as stipulated in the joint project Memorandum of Understanding, a government statement said.(CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)