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Tension grows between OCG, contractors

Tuesday, August 21, 2012    

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TENSION between the Office of the Contractor General (OCG) and the Jamaica Association of Contractors and Consultants (JAC) widened yesterday, with the OCG calling in the police to investigate alleged threats against two of its officers.

At the same time, the OCG is holding firm that it would only be able to accommodate only three representatives of the association at a planned meeting this Thursday.

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 in Kingston. The OCG said the threats have been reported to the police, who are investigating the matter.

The JAC has, however, written to the OCG, insisting that it will be taking four representatives to the meeting to discuss concerns over long delays in the approval of applications for registration with the National Contracts Commission (NCC), instead of the three to which it has been limited by the OCG. According to JAC, this was necessary because the Incorporated Master Builders Association of Jamaica and the Medium, Small and Micro Enterprise Alliance have joined the group.

JAC chairperson Percival LaTouche last night denied that any threat was made by the contractors attending the meeting. He said he has given the police this information. But LaTouche admitted that at least two persons from the OCG infiltrated the July 28 meeting, disguised as contractors.

He said that the two 'intruders' whom he claimed included a chauffeur employed to the OCG were identified by contractors at the meeting, a number of whom were disturbed by their presence.

In the meantime the OCG, in a release yesterday, said that it had taken note of a story which appeared in the Jamaica Observer last week with the headline "Angry contractors tackle OCG on Thursday".

Said the OCG: "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 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 LaTouche wish to include in his three-person team, a representative from the IMAJ and a representative from the MSME Alliance."

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