Anger Over Huge Bill For ‘Unnecessary Consultants’
One of Guernsey’s most experienced Master Mariners has released documents suggesting hundreds of thousands of pounds of tax payers’ money has been wasted on problems associated with discharging fuel.
Deputy Barry Paint has released paperwork to Island FM which also says local experts were ignored by both local civil servants and UK consultants during discussions about building a new fuelling birth to address problems which he says never existed in the first place.
Deputy Paint used last week’s States debate on the 2018 Budget to first call on Deputy Gavin St Pier to publicly answer his concerns over the island’s hydrocarbon strategy.
Deputy Paint was worried tax payers money has been wasted for no reason at all, due to employing UK consultants when our own civil servants could have found out some answers themselves.
He has now given us documents backing up those concerns and says he is waiting for further answers on the issue.
Deputy Paint says Guernsey was told the island had to ban tankers discharging fuel at St Sampson’s Harbour due to impending restrictions being brought in by the EU or UK.
A UK consultant was employed to look into this, costing £830,000. Deputy Paint says the consultants quickly replied saying there are no pending restrictions.
In his paper work Deputy Paint says that should have been able to be determined locally:
Deputy Paint also says workshops on the possibility of building a dedicated fuelling birth at the Bridge, to address these ‘restrictions’ did not include any local experts and their opinions were ignored during a workshop on the issue.
In a statement Deputy Paint says:
The first presentation and the workshop Hydrocarbons project, achieved very little, in short opinions from the delegates without giving them information or facts upon which to base those opinion. By careful manipulation a selection of preferred options was arrived at, but it should be asked if the same result would have been achieved if relevant information and facts had been available prior to selection.
Several things did become clear:-
Some of the people speaking really had no background knowledge of the particular maritime situation and were trying to impress the uninformed workshop delegates that they did know what they were talking about.
It would be fair to say that they were feeling their way through a mine field of their lack of knowledge by trying to look into a subject as a learning curve to impress others.
There were 4 local Master Mariners attending the workshop all of whom had vast experience of local waters and the import of fossil fuels, they were not listened too and their opinions were not, during the whole exercise, taken into consideration.
One of the Master Mariners stated that he would never attend a workshop like this again and that it was a total waste of his time.
There was a representative of a Tanker owning company who clearly stated that he could see no problems with bringing fuel tankers into our port (St Sampson’s harbour) as things were at the moment.
The workshop also gave the impressing that a certain part of the establishment was trying to drive towards a solution that Guernsey cannot afford and that is not necessary to do so at the present time.
It is also becoming clear that local experienced opinion and knowledge stands for nothing when it comes local projects.
Finally two Local politicians were so disgusted with both the presentation and workshop they have had two meetings with the Policy and Resources Committee and asked what they were going to do regarding the ill thought out proposals, as yet no reply has been forthcoming.
Deputy Paint has told Island FM that despite asking some Rule 14 (written) questions of the Committee for Policy and Resources, he is unhappy with their responses. He says many questions still need to be answered about who chose to employ the UK consultants and why this work was not done locally at a fraction of the cost.
He says a review needs to be carried out to hold people to account and to stop it happening again.
Deputy Paint also says nearly £400,000 more is going to be spent on the Hydrocarbon strategy, despite this previous failing, after the States of Guernsey backed one part of the 2018 Budget to allocate the money to the project.
Deputy Paint voted against that expenditure while Deputy Lester Queripel abstained. All others present voted in favour of it.
Deputy Paint says he hopes he can stop further spending on this project by encouraging a review of the situation so far.