News

JDIP contractors seek legal advice to recover $1.6 b from Govt

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2014    

Print this page Email A Friend!


CONTRACTORS claiming over $1.6 billion in unpaid bills after participating in the Jamaica Development Infrastructure Programme (JDIP) are seeking legal advice on proceeding with the issue, despite meeting with Minister of Transport, Works and Housing Dr Omar Davies, last Thursday.

The meeting had been arranged with the minister by president of the Incorporated Master Builders Association of Jamaica Carvel Stewart in an effort to resolve the prolonged matter, which has also taken up much of the time of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations Committee.

Stewart said he felt the meeting had opened the door to a resolution of the issues.

"I felt they left the meeting feeling that there is an avenue to a resolution," he told the Jamaica Observer last Friday.

However, it was learnt yesterday that the contractors went directly to the offices of their respective attorneys after the meeting, and urged them to take legal action to ensure early payment of the outstanding amounts.

"We have been down this road before and it didn't work out. So, we are going to get our lawyers involved and let them decide how best to proceed," a spokesman for the contractors, who wanted to remain unnamed, told the Observer yesterday.

The dispute is over the delay in payments, including retention and fluctuation claims, which has resulted from incomplete final measurements and the test results to guarantee payment which the contractors have raised doubts about.

"The retention should have been released long ago. The works were completed three years ago, in some cases. The liability period on the jobs is only one year," the spokesman for the contractors pointed out.

The contractors claimed that the National Works Agency (NWA), the government's oversight body for the programme, is holding on to their payments, unfairly and unnecessarily.

"Retention money can only be taken out if there is a defect, and the manner in which you do it is to have the work redone and collect the exact cost from the contractor; not what they are doing in holding on to all retention payments," said the contractor.

However, Stewart insists that the meeting might have eased the tensions.

"In general, there is a path to the resolution of the issues and, as long as both parties follow the path, then I believe they will be resolved, although some will take some time," he said.

The seven JDIP contractors - YP Seaton & Associates, Surrey Paving and Aggregate Company, Rogers Land Development, Alcar Construction and Haulage, Dwight's Construction Limited, Buildrite and Construction Solutions - said they have been waiting for up to three years for the payments, estimated to be as much as $1.6 billion.

They had written to various institutions and individuals, including to Contractor General Dirk Harrison; Chief Executive Officer of the NWA EG Hunter; Attorney General Patrick Atkinson; and regional director of China Harbour Engineering Company Zhong Dong Tang; as well as Dr Davies and his junior minister Richard Azan.

ADVERTISEMENT

POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

 

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper – email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

Have you seen an improvement in the Government’s handling of the chik-V outbreak?
Yes
No


View Results »


ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT