Minister Lee clarifies comments regarding New Hospital

Minister of Health, Social Affairs and Labour Emil Lee

PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten —  There have been several comments circulating on social media and in the opinion pages of the newspapers which Minister Lee provided clarity on in the Press Briefing on Wednsday.

Is the bidder qualified?

The tripartite worked together with Royal HaskoningDHV, one of the largest and most experienced hospital engineer in the Netherlands, to determine which companies would be able to qualify. During the pre-qualification all the candidates, including INSO, had to provide financial statements to ensure they are financially stable, references for previous projects, an company profiles. Those reference project for hospitals were extensively checked by the evaluation committee supported by Royal HaskoningDHV. The 5 candidates, including INSO that were selected for the bid all passed the due diligence phase and scored the highest points from the due diligence. INSO is a large and international construction company and has proven experience in building large and smaller hospitals all over the world and in the Caribbean region.

Many persons are also referencing the hospital in St. Lucia which was built by INSO, which is now not operational. Therefore Minister Lee took the liberty to contact the Prime Minister of St. Lucia who happens to a close friend and colleague from the tourism sector to inquire about that specific project. The issue is not that the project was not properly executed, the problem lies in the fact that the medical equipment that was placed in the building was of a high specification which the staff needs training to be able to operate. St. Maarten will not experience this challenge as the equipment will be purchased with consensus from SMMC.

Is the Price too Low? Why the big price difference?

Minister Lee explained that the price difference is based on the way the terms of reference was set up. In the terms of reference bidders were given the opportunity to develop their proposal based on functional requirements, more specifically the needs of the hospital. All tenderers received the same package with information including a complete list of the functional requirements for the New Hospital. Based on these functional requirements, tenderers had to come up with their concept/design and some tenderers designed a functional hospital (as requested) and others build a more luxurious ‘resort’ type of hospital which translated into a “luxurious” price.

“Before beginning the public tendering process a very detailed budget for the New Hospital was created by Royal HaskoningDHV. This allowed the tripartite to know what we could afford and what exactly the costs should be for the needs for the hospital. Based on our detailed price/functional check including the in-depth analysis of our internal budget, INSO’s price fits the estimated range”, stated Minister Lee.


How can we guarantee they will finish for price quoted?

According to the Fidic Gold Book which provides detailed arrangements to keep the contractor accountable for the works provided there is a performance security of 10% of the contract value covered by a bank guarantee. Next to that there is parent company guarantee to make sure that we are not only dealing with a ‘shell’ company that can easily dissolved if the Project goes wrong.  Furthermore, we have an advance payment guarantee as well as arrangements for delay damages with steep penalties.


How do we know they will deliver a quality project?

INSO will be responsible for maintenance for the next 10 years with the possibility to extend for another 10 years. Therefore, all shortcomings, if any, has to be repaired within the fixed budget for which they tendered. This provides an incentive for INSO to not take shortcuts in the construction of the building as they will be responsible for all repairs. If the repairs exceed the lump-sum in there contract they must cover the costs for the repairs.  In addition, the tripartite has appointed Royal HaskoningDHV as cost and quality consultant. They will be supported by our local engineering company ICE who will be responsible for assessing the project construction.


Next to that, the Tripartite will have their own (technical) supervisor on the ground and together with the project manager will execute a detailed quality program under supervision of the Tripartite. Minister Lee stated “there is no other way he could of thought of to make the process more open and transparent. Through his approach Government was able to save money and ensure that the process yielded the most efficient product for the health care needs of our people.”