praise and respect in the community, which in turn
inspires them to keep their word.
“They came up with a culturally appropriate solution that is more effective and scalable than hiring
100 inspectors, because it is about trust, empowerment and pride,” Ms. Kijewski-Correa says.
Island supply chains create another unique obstacle
for Caribbean project teams. They must plan carefully to make sure they can get people, equipment
and raw materials to a job site in the middle of the
ocean. “You have to have a mature supply chain,
because when your project is on an island, nothing
is produced here,” Mr. Henriquez says.
Even basic construction resources, such as ready-mix plants, cranes and pump trucks for concrete,
don’t exist on the smaller islands. In many cases,
project owners need to factor the additional cost
of bringing in trucks and heavy equipment into the
contract—and have a plan in place to deal with that
equipment when the project is over.
“Mobilization and demobilization can be the
biggest part of the project price,” Mr. Samuel
says. He says savvy contractors always are focused
on the next project as a way to avoid demobilization costs. For example, CHEC, the Chinese engineering company that is wrapping up the Jamaica
toll road program, is partnering with bidders on
the Kingston airport upgrade so the company can
keep those assets in operation. “If you can avoid
demobilization it adds real savings,” he says. It
can also give project leaders a significant cost
advantage over other bidders who need to ship in
Despite these challenges, the Caribbean has a
wealth of opportunities for private project investors. Countries across the region have a significant
need for infrastructure upgrades, and the increasing
adoption of PPP rules suggests they are eager to
embrace foreign partners.
“If you are willing to brave the risks, it’s a great
business environment,” Mr. Samuel says. “Plus, it
will be like working in paradise.” PM
If you are
willing to brave
the risks, it’s a