No Tender--$654K In Legal Fees For Pier Park

Melissa Edwards, Senior Reporter | 1 Opinions
Published: June 15, 2017 8:22 am AST
Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
The controversial cruise pier and land side development project saw over $600,000 in legal fees paid out to a law firm, which was hired for the project. Further, there was no tendering, with Hon. Mark Vanterpool, Minister of Communications and Works, disclosing that direct negotiations was held with the firm.

"According to the records held by the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), one legal firm was engaged by the BVIPA in the name of Harney Westwood and Reigels, to provide legal advice and or services to the BVIPA and TPPL, for the cruise pier development project, in the total amount of $654,535.12," he said in response to questions in the House of Assembly on June 13.

He added that he is also aware that through the Ministry of Finance, legal advice and services linked to the cruise pier project was also sought and obtained from Baker Mackenzie, a UK Legal Firm.

The Minister stated that no variations were incurred during the provision of these services, and noted that according to records held by the BVIPA, there are no outstanding invoices or balances to be paid to the firm.

He was then asked by Hon. Andrew Fahie, Opposition Leader, to state if the tendering process was used to hire the legal firm.

Minister Vanterpool said it is his understanding that the tender process was not used to obtain these services, but instead, the services were obtained through direct negotiations.

The Minister was also asked in the cases where the tender process was not used, to state the procedure used to hire the firm.

Hon. Vanterpool said it is his understanding that other firms were approached by the BVIPA to provide professional legal services linked to the cruise pier project. "However, their costs proved prohibitive and therefore, after some negotiations, the firm of Harney Westwood and Reigels was chosen."

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