DeSilva wins bid to import Port Royal sand
A company run by a Cabinet minister has won a contract to import thousands of dollars worth of sand to improve a golf course’s bunkers in the run-up to a major tournament.
Island Construction Services was the successful bidder after the Government issued a request for proposals as Port Royal Golf Course prepares for the first PGA Bermuda Championship in the autumn.
Zane DeSilva, the president and chief executive of Island Construction, is also the Minister of Tourism and Transport.
A government spokeswoman said yesterday that the firm made the best submission and was the lowest bidder.
She added that all government contracts worth more than $50,000 were published.
The spokeswoman said: “The tender process was open and transparent and in accordance with the financial instructions guidelines.
“Submissions received were reviewed and closely scrutinised by technical officers.
“After a thorough review, a prudent decision was made based on the best submission and lowest bidder.”
No information was provided about the value of the contract or how many submissions were received.
The RFP was open for ten days last month with a deadline of July 25.
It said: “Following the recent announcement that Bermuda will host a PGA Tour event at Port Royal Golf Course in October, the Government is now seeking proposals from suitable qualified and experienced entities for the ‘turnkey’ importation and delivery of both bunker sand and top dressing sand to Port Royal Golf Course.”
The contract details said the 3,000 tonnes of bunker sand must comply with United States Golf Association recommendations and that the colour of 1,000 tonnes of top dressing “shall be clearly identified, for approval by the ministry”.
The RFP said that laboratory test reports on the size of the sand particles would be required.
Samples of the sand would also have to be sent for analysis by the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries “to obtain official approval to import the sand to Bermuda”.
Mr DeSilva told the House of Assembly last month that he would provide an itemised list of the work to be done on the Southampton course, along with the budget for the improvements, in response to questions from Michael Dunkley, a One Bermuda Alliance MP.
The Opposition member had highlighted that the sand traps lacked sand.
Mr DeSilva said then: “The itemised list is being finalised as we speak. As the member with his past experience knows, these things take a little time.
“As soon as we have those completed, I will gladly bring all those details to this House by ministerial statement.”
Mr Dunkley, during the motion to adjourn a week later on July 26, said: “If sand has to be replaced in all the traps, it’s going to be a significant expense, probably in excess of a couple hundred thousand dollars.
“It would take some time to get here, unless we have sand on the island and I’m not aware that we do have sand on the island.”
He added that he had seen Island Construction vehicles “in the sand traps doing some work”. Mr Dunkley said then: “I would like to know what the budget will be, what contracts have been given out for the work, what’s the scope of the work that has to be done, what challenges we face with the irrigation system, with the water supply or anything like that.”
Mr DeSilva was not in the House of Assembly at the time and MPs heard he had been off the island on business.
Mr DeSilva did not respond to requests from The Royal Gazette for comment this week.
A special report issued in October 2014 by then Auditor-General Heather Jacobs Matthews faulted a $24.5 million restoration project at Port Royal and criticised the awarding of contracts worth $1.6 million and $1.2 million to one company without being put out to tender.
The report pointed out that a board member, who was also a Member of Parliament at the time, had owned the company.
A Public Accounts Committee later heard that the excavation contract went to Island Construction, the only company that submitted a bid.
Mr DeSilva is a former trustee of the course and at the time was an Opposition MP.
The Bermuda Championship is expected to involve professionals who do not qualify for this year’s World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event in China.
It will run from October 31 to November 3 and have a $3 million purse.
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