Controversial civil works contractor Imer Hernandez has won two public contracts, a $6 million contract to upgrade the Belize City Municipal Airstrip, and a $2 million contract to renovate the Belmopan market.
The European Union is funding the 12-month market project, which the Ministry of Works is supervising. The Evaluation Committee accepted Hernandez’s bid and his company is already in its second month of work on the project.
Hernandez’s company also won a $6 million contract for the expansion works at the Belize Municipal Airstrip, which went through a competitive bidding process with the submitted tenders opened last December.
Belize Airports Authority General Manager Kenworth Tillett said he had no problem with Hernandez winning the contract, as he was informed that Hernandez offered the best deal to the vetting committee.
Even Prime Minister Dean Barrow has said he has confidence in the mechanisms by which Hernandez won the contracts, even though, as Minister of Finance, he had promised to look into the issue of a public works project which Hernandez allegedly failed to complete.
Barrow said his only concern was whether or not the people of Belize would get value for money, and from all the reports he has received, Hernandez is an “excellent” contractor, even winning contracts funded by the international agencies.
Hernandez also happens to be the nephew of Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Gaspar Vega. He first came under public scrutiny when it was alleged that he failed to complete some $200,000 in works on the San Antonio Road, in Orange Walk, and that the funds were somehow diverted to pave a street in Orange Walk town on which the Deputy P.M. Vega lives.