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OCG says officers threatened, contractors deny claim

By Balford Henry Observer Senior Reporter henryb@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 20, 2012 | 3:49 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Office of the Contractor-General (OCG) and the Jamaica Association of Contractors and Consultants (JAC) are still at odds over arrangements for a meeting scheduled for Thursday, in a bid to resolve concerns over long delays in the approval of applications for registration with the National Contracts Commission (NCC).

In response to a story carried today by the Jamaica Observer (Online) indicating that the parties would meet Thursday, but that the JAC wished to include representatives of the Incorporated Master Builders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ) and the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise (MSME) Alliance, which has since joined the cause, the OCG issued a release stating that it would not entertain more than the three representatives it had proposed to the JAC, for security reasons.

The OCG said that its insistence on a limited number of persons being accommodated at the meeting, was due to threats, it alleged, were made against its officers at the JAC’s inaugural meeting on July 28 at the Medallion Hall Hotel, Kingston.

The OCG noted that the threats have been reported to the police, who are investigating the matter.

However, JAC chairman, Percival LaTouche, has denied that contractors attending the meeting threatened OCG officers.

He added that OCG officers had attended the meeting “disguised as contractors”.

LaTouche said he has given this information to the police.

In its release today the OCG said that it has “taken note of a story which appears in today’s edition of the Observer entitled “Angry Contractors tackle OCG on Thursday.

The OCG release went on:

“The story indicates, among other things, that “the OCG will be meeting with more than just representatives of the Jamaica Association of Contractors and Consultants (JAC) as, since last week, the protesting contractors have been joined by members of the Incorporated Master Builders Association of Jamaica (IMAJ) and the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise (MSME) Alliance."

“The OCG, however, wishes to publicly advise that by way of letter, dated August 15, 2012, addressed to Mr Percival LaTouche of the JAC, a formal invitation was issued by the OCG to meet with a “maximum” of three (3) named representatives of the JAC. While no OCG invitation has been issued by the OCG to meet with any other person or group, the OCG would, however, have no objection should Mr LaTouche wish to include in his three (3) person team, a representative from the IMAJ and a representative from the MSME Alliance.

“The OCG’s decision to limit those who can attend the meeting, or who will be admitted to its Offices, arises in part from certain OCG security considerations which have emanated from threats of violence which were directed by members of the JAC to OCG officers at the JAC’s inaugural meeting of July 28.

“Representatives of the OCG have since given formal statements to the Police and at least three (3) meetings have been held between members of the Police High Command and OCG officers. The OCG is also aware of the fact that Mr Percival LaTouche was called in to meet with the Police”.

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