Archive for August 2nd, 2009

Matrix partner to face music

| 02/08/2009 | 14 Comments

(CNS): The local principals that partnered with Matrix International to create the Cayman based company which was awarded the government scrap metal contract are being called to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) this week. They will be expected to answer questions surrounding the firm’s failure to fulfil its contractual obligations with the government, but PAC indicated that it will not be able to do much with regard to the company’s alleged failure to pay local contractors who worked with Matrix when they removed one shipment of scrap metal in 2007.

During the two day PAC meeting in the Legislative Assembly last week the committee members spoke with the Auditor General, Dan Duguay about the special report he completed in August of last year and his office’s findings over what had happened with the Matrix contract. Duguay told the committee that although the government had received over $300,000 from the deal, Matrix had defaulted on the contract and a good of scrap metal still remains on island. He said that there were problems with the tendering process and ultimately no real assessment had been made as to how capable Matrix was of doing the job.

“We should have looked much more closely at the firm’s ability to actually undertake the contract,” he said adding that it was evident once Matrix began the work they were not able to complete it.

 UDP committee member, Dwayne Seymour noted that a major problem with this contract was the fact that local heavy equipment operators who had entered into sub-contracts with Matrix had still not been paid and the outstanding sums were said to be almost the exact same amount as the sum government had been paid.

“I don’t think we can table this report until we get to the bottom of that,” Seymour said.

However the chair Ezzard Miller, (Independent Candidate for North Side) noted that while that was a real and serious issue it was beyond the remit of the PAC as those contracts were private sector deals and that if they were to call witnesses, whichhe believed the PAC should, they were not in a position to question people on a private sector deal. He also noted that those local contractors were still involved in their own legal dispute with the principals.

Miller however pointed out that there must have been local partners involved that the PAC could still call to get to the bottom of why the contract was not completed and learn some lessons regarding the tendering process. He also noted the need to call the civil servants who were involved to establish why the necessary due diligence had not been done on the firm before it was awarded the contract.

Seymour however, felt that the government still owed some obligation to the contractors as it had made the decision to do business with the firm which in turn left local business out of pocket. “How can we protect the Cayman business man in the future, is something we need to find out,” he added.

Miller warded however that while it was important the local partners were called to answer for what went wrong PAC could not jump into the legal private dispute.  

Duguay said his office would do its best to contact the Cayman partners as he believed they had the information on file and CNS understands that the local principles involved with Matrix were Billy Bodden and Andrew Bodden. The overseas owner was BV Young Ltd which is jointly owned by two Canadian truck drivers, brothers Bruce Young and Vincent Young.

The Matrix contract first caused considerable controversy at the end of 2007when the firm which had promised the CI government over $1.2 million for the scrap metal on islands as a result of Hurricane Ivan and general build up since then ran into serious financial problems. The government had looked to be getting a reasonable sum and getting the island clear of the growing scrap metal problem. However, Matrix soon ran into financial difficulties when a court dispute with a shipping firm went against them. Although Matrix made one shipment of metal and gave government $300,000 the company did not pay a number of contractors or ever take any more metal away.

In January 2008 one of the brothers Vincent Young told Cayman Net News that he was trying to get things sorted and would pay back everyone he owed. “I will not return to the Cayman Islands until I have the money to pay everyone,” he said. “I have never not paid a bill.” However, CNS understands that the local contractors are still owed around $220,000 for the work they did for Matrix international during the short time they were here.

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Saudi billionaire to challenge Cayman court

| 02/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(Bloomberg): Maan al-Sanea, the Saudi billionaire who had $9.2 billion worth of assets frozen by the Cayman Islands court last week, plans to challenge the order as his dispute with Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Co. intensifies. The court order on 24 July froze the assets of 42 entities related to al-Sanea, including Saad Group Ltd. and Saad Air Ltd placing them under receivership. A hearingdate will be set after August 28, according to the court document. “Saad will respond fully to all of these claims through the proper judicial process and definitively demonstrate their lack of any foundation,” a London-based spokesman for al- Sanea’s Saad Group said.

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Poo power on the farm

| 02/08/2009 | 0 Comments

(CNN): Four generations of Saylors have worked the family’s dairy farm for nearly a century, but for the past three years, the cows have been doing something besides providing milk: They’ve been helping power the place. Growing up on the sprawling spread 90 minutes from Pittsburgh, 36-year-old farmer Shawn Saylor developed into a self-described science buff. So it was no surprise that, when faced with rising energy costs, Saylor turned to technology. He tapped into an abundant and easily accessible energy source: manure from about 600 cows.

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