Workload of some gov't contractors concerns Christie

BY ALICIA DUNKLEY Senior staff reporter dunkleya@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, October 21, 2011

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CONTRACTOR General Greg Christie has expressed "grave concern about the massive workload of some contractors" who he said "continue to receive government contract awards despite the obviously impossible workload they already have".


The Contractor General, in the 24th Annual Report of that office tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, said it was critical that public bodies do the necessary due diligence to ensure that contracts are not awarded to contractors who have exceeded the permissible workload limit specified by the National Contracts Commission (NCC) rules. These persons, he said, continued to gobble up Government contracts despite the fact that their "human, technical, financial and equipment resources are already stretched thin".


In the meantime, expressing displeasure with the continued poor performance of contractors, Christie said "there are several NCC-registered contractors who have been found culpable of performing poorly on government works projects, but who, notwithstanding, continue to legitimately receive government contracts".


"This has occurred widely as a result of the failure of public bodies to document and report the offending contractor's underperformance to the NCC," Christie said in the report.


He said while the NCC has legal sway to delist contractors for poor work quality or government contract breaches, thus preventing them from bidding on future government contracting opportunities, it cannot do so without the requisite supporting documentation and information.


In the meantime, the contractor general has called on the Government to urgently take steps to "formally institutionalise the blacklisting of underperforming government contractors".


"This is a best practice of the World Bank and other major development banks worldwide," Christie said in the over 1,000-page document.


"If accepted, this recommendation, I strongly believe, will dramatically increase the levels of efficiency and effective performance of government contractors in Jamaica, particularly those who are recipients of contracts in the construction sector," he added.


The OCG, in the meantime, has highlighted several contracts which it said have suffered from a "variety of poor performance considerations". Those projects include the Ministry of Education's Steer Town High School construction project, the Falmouth Cruise Ship Pier Development Project, the construction of 37 townhouses by the National Housing Trust at Paddington Terrace in the Corporate Area, the rehabilitation of infrastructure works at Lilliput St James by the Housing Agency of Jamaica Limited, as well as the construction of a new two-storey building for the Fruitful Vale All-Age School.



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