'We are finished'

'We are finished'

e-Learning puts dispute with GeoTech behind it

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

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CHIEF executive officer (CEO) of e-Learning Jamaica, Keith Smith, says the agency has put behind it the months-long dispute it had with technology company, GeoTechVision Enterprises, over a failed contract for the Tablets in Schools project.

“We are finished. We set out to terminate the contract and, in both of those cases they took us to the court for, they were thrown out — so we are confident in our legal advice,” he told the Jamaica Observer last Friday.

In December, GeoTechVision filed an application asking the Supreme Court to appoint an arbitrator to determine whether or not the contract that e-Learning cancelled in September, was still valid. Prior to that, in October, GeoTechVision sought an injunction to stop e-Learning from recalling the US$660,000 performance bond on the contract. The court sided with e-Learning in both matters.

In a statement last week Wednesday, after the Supreme Court dismissed the application for an arbitrator, GeoTechVision said it had instructed attorneys to make a formal claim on the Government agency for loss and damages arising from the termination of the contract for the Tablets in Schools project.

e-Learning said the contract was severed because the technology company had not fulfilled its end of the agreement to supply approximately 19,000 tablets. GeoTechVision has repeatedly denied that claim, and insists that all channels for a resolution had not been exhausted before the contract was dismissed.

GeoTechVision refuted reports in the media that the matter was dismissed by the court.

“The primary matter before the Court today was whether the Tablets in School contract between GeoTechVision and e-Learning Jamaica is currently active; and it is in this specific matter, that the court ruled that an arbitrator could not make a determination on that issue,” the company said.

It stressed that the claim for loss and damages was not before the court, and that the company's attorneys would now vigorously pursue the matter to collect from e-Learning Jamaica.

e-Learning Jamaica has issued a Request for Proposal to source devices for the Tablets in Schools programme, a process which Smith told the Observer was “almost at an end”.

The programme started in 2014 with the distribution of tablet computers to approximately 24,000 students and 1,200 teachers in 38 educational institutions, including one special-education institution and one teachers' college. In January 2019, Cabinet approved the full roll-out of the programme in 1,106 educational institutions.

The programme also included the distribution of computers and multimedia devices, including interactive white-boards/projectors, scanners, printers to pre-primary and primary schools. This is in addition to the installation of Wi-Fi at all 38 educational institutions.

— Alphea Saunders

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