The Pickering Project in St Lucy, expected to generate US$800 million in revenue, will start in June with the first 37 houses.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler heralded the news as he chided the Opposition for spreading doom and gloom about his Government’s handling of the economy.
Sinckler said the loose talk had caused local contractors to miss out on making millions of dollars from the project and hiring Barbadians.
The minister revealed that when the “Pickering people” visited him and the Minister of Housing Michael Lashley to update them, “they . . . indicated to me, as they did to the honourable member and . . . the Prime Minister as well, that that project is ready to move ahead from June this year with the first 37 houses”.
Sinckler added that the “Pickering people” came to see him with a team of quantity surveyors, architects and builders “who are our brothers and sisters from Jamaica”. The lead contracting team, he discovered, would be a Jamaican construction firm.
The minister said that on enquiring how “this massive piece of work in St Lucy has landed in the hands of a Jamaican company he was told by the project principals that “because of the irresponsible comments by people in Barbados . . . contractors in Barbados refused when asked to bid on the project, because they felt, based on what was told to them . . . that the project had no money”.
Pickering Court was launched by late Prime Minister David Thompson last June and was being conducted under North Ridge Development Co. Ltd.
It was said the project would employ 600 people at the peak of construction and provide sustainable employment opportunities.
The Estimates debate continues in the House of Assembly today at 2 p.m.