Sen. Hill Asks deJongh To Give Local Contractors Chance

I am writing with an urgent request that you intervene with the contracting for USVI Disaster Debris Removal in the event of a natural disaster, which is to be awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the next few weeks.

As you may know, the Corps has issued a call for RFPs throughout the nation and in the territories. However, to my mind, local solicitation was marginal at best, done in such a manner that it readily eluded attention of local contractors, as it was both online and needed advance information prior to accessing the site.

Aside from the economic opportunities lost to local contractors, the nationwide RFP solicitation failed to supply the specifics unique to the tri-island terrain and infrastructure of the Virgin Islands. Rather, it is based on hypothetical hurricane conditions in North Carolina. Thus, a contract awarded an off-island firm, and under such invalid guidelines, would lead me to question how the Corps could possibly evaluate the viability of technical operations and cost of the awarded proposal.

In all fairness, an immediate request should be made to the USACE, asking them to reactivate the solicitation process in an effort to be more openly directed to the attention of licensed contractors in the Virgin Islands with specific criteria for local experience. In addition, procedures should be initiated to prevent further USACE solicitations for work performed in the Virgin Islands without some official notification.

You have the whole-hearted support and appreciation of the minority caucus as you pursue the cooperation of the Corps in this matter.

Senator Louis Patrick Hill
27th Legislature of the Virgin Islands

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