Small Contractor Alastai Ramharack, left, with Rene Morris, and Steve Jointe, right, protest outside Nidco in Golconda yesterday.

For the second time in a week, small contractors protested in front of Nidco office in Golconda for subcontracts in the billion-dollar Solomon Hochoy Highway Extension to Point Fortin project.

The contractors are now requesting a meeting with Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan.

Chanting “small business matters,” the three contractors displayed a small box in the shape of a coffin and banners yesterday, as they accused the Government of not caring about them.

Spokesman Alastai Rambarack said he expected that with election so close the minister would have at least acknowledged them.

He said, “What is mindblowing is that it is election time and the Minister of Works did not even acknowledge small contractors and small business. I mean they would have at least take the opportunity to acknowledge them even in a bluff self. But it did not even bluff and acknowledge us. So the question is where his heart is? If his heart was towards peoples and small businesses and small contractors he would have acknowledged us at some point in time but he never did, even Nidco. So I don’t know if this is the policy of the administration. It leaves me to wonder if this is the policy of the administrator to ignore small contractors and to ignore small businesses.”

Denying that their actions were not politically motivated, he said they would continue to protest until they get jobs.

“They going to continue to see us now until election and after election, they are going to continue to see us because this is not an election gimmick this is a stand for small contractors and small business,” he added.

Rambarack claimed that under the previous main contractor OAS, at least 150 small contractors were employed on the project.

However, he said currently less than ten small contractors have received jobs. The large contractors working on the project are Junior Sammy, General Earth Movers, and Namalco Construction Services Ltd.

Responding to Nidco’s chairman Herbert George that he is unaware that Nidco was in talks with the small contractors regarding jobs on the project, he said they had meetings with a project engineer.

“We want you guys who sit on the very top and make the decisions. Don’t only make it for the ones that is wealthy but make it for the ones that is climbing the ladder. Make it for the small business and make it for the small contractors,” Rambarack said.

He said their next step is to take their protest to the project site. In a WhatsApp response, George said Nidco made no promise of employment on the project to any contractor, large or small.

“Every contract on the project was awarded subject to competitive tendering. We resolved the project into a series of smaller work packages to allow local contractors to bid and be successful. That approach has worked well,” George said.

He said if the small contractors want to meet with the minister they were free to go ahead and request a meeting.

The minister did not respond to WhatApp messages up to late yesterday.