Work stops at school sites

| 12/11/2009

(CNS): Workers at the two new public high schools have been told to down tools yet again, as the dispute between the government and developer Tom Jones International (TJI) rolls on. CNS understands that work at the John Gray High School has already ground to a halt today (Thursday 12 November) and that workers at the Clifton Hunter site have been told to stop work there from tomorrow. CNS also understands that TJI paid off sub-contractors which does not bode well for a return to work any time soon.

Sources said that once again the general contractor has not been paid by government and this was having a knock-on effect to the sub-contractors.

The two sites have been plagued with disruptions for several months owing to disagreements between the Ministry of Education and TJI over the cost of change orders and overruns on the project. Government has also struggled to pay the developer’s regular invoices recently, given the financial difficulties regarding government revenue. There have also been disputes between TJI and sub-contractors as well as controversies concerning the employment of foreigners over Caymanians. However, Hunter Jones, the owner and managing director of TJI, has denied those allegations and says that the workforce is more than 75% Caymanian.

Last month, Education Minister Rolston Anglin told CNS that, while work was continuing on the site at that time, the dispute was not resolved. His said the $15 million or so claimed by TJI was not settled but he was hopeful that it could be addressed sooner rather than later. “We know that the figure in question is not going to become zero, so it is in the developer’s interest to settle this too. He is going to get something, and the sooner we agree on a realistic figure the sooner the developer will be paid,” Anglin had stated.

He also said that a project manager was expected to be in place at the beginning of November who would be taking over the overall negotiations and day to day running of the two school developments. CNS has contacted the ministry to find out if the new PM has arrived and to request details on what the latest problems are with payment and is awaiting a response.

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  1. Angry Broke Caymanians says:

    Wether you are Caymanian or not you will not get paid by TJI…at least not right up to the end because they will go belly up before finishing…I have seen this a hundred times in troubled projects worldwide. TJI of course will blame lack of cash flow and uncertainty in payment causing an issue with their subcontractors and suppliers, declare bankruptcy and the Canadians will split town. See this like I have seen an old western movie – same theme a thousand times over.

    Hope Mr. Dale and Local Company have their check books ready. Neither school will be ready by next school year. Might as well start sourcing the School trailers now so we can get BCu approval to hook them up in time.

    Expat or Caymanian – you are going to be happy you did not get a job there as you are likely to not be paid in the end. I also predict that this will be the proverbial nail in the coffin for Alden and the PPM because the Auditor General will write a scathing report ultimately…..or then again will he be too busy on the good old press circuit?

  2. Anonymous says:

    I worked at clifton hunter for 2 years………. I was fired because of caymanians crying about jobs…. and was replaced by a caymanian….which evidently was a wrong move in many ways.. I agree that local jobs need to be created……. but you are all missing the big picture and are shooting yourselves in the foot

    …just from reading your comments ……one can conclude that your education and government run policies are lacking in organization and structure……..your island needs these schools, it needs a university, and you need to hire a new contractor and devise a new budget, one which both parties can operate with.


    Good luck……. I do wish caymanians all the best

    regards ex TJI employee


    • Anonymous says:

      Okay, let me see if I’m reading this correctly, ‘you were fired because Caymanians were crying about jobs…they need the schools and are shooting themselves in the foot.’

      Hmm, are you sure they are to blame? Shouldn’t the person who made an empty promise to you be blamed? Couldn’t it be the Caymanians were standing up for their permanent residence, and the after-effects, of people making money and returning to their own permanent residence – this is their home, agree?

      Just sayin’ because here in the U.S., cities/states are broke, some want to file bankruptcy. Colton, California, just yesterday are laying off civil servants. There are vacant homes all across America – no one can buy them, no jobs, no credit. Stores are selling items 50-65% off just to get people to spend money, this is grocery stores to retail stores. Homebuilders have filed bankruptcy, some have abandoned projects. This is what imported labor have done to the U.S! In LaPalma California, they are considering closing a public school due to less students-this announced yesterday.

      Detroit Michigan, some areas are so broke, there are no grocery stores, very minimal public services – fire,police…

      Now, agreed, Cayman may need new schools, but, that doesn’t mean that they should be kept out of jobs they apply for – this is their country, not yours, so you have no right to be angry at them.

    • Anonymous says:

      You all don’t get it – all this is being done to get rid of TJI and the Almighty Saviour of the Cayman Islands will step in to "save" Cayman and the schools by finishing the construction of the schools and certain people will have their pockets lined asusual but at least the schools will get finished. By the way, we all know who "our" saviour is, just think of who has Mac in his pocket!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I say make the schools 100% Caymanian – management and workers and lets see how much quicker they build, what better quality they produce and how much money they will save their own government.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why dont we just give up, and shut these islands down. Chase all the foreigners away, bankrupt the country over night, and then elect Ezzard Miller as the new premier.

    Miller, can teach us all how to fish, collect fresh drinking water, and play dominoes up in North Side. Lets not face it, he is not educated enough to do much else!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would like to know if you guys have a community service program. If not, this is what it is, a person commits a minor crime, instead of jail, they pay a fine, probation, and do community service (cleaning city highways, painting public buildings – volunteer work that benefits the community).

    All you would need is a contractor to supervise, a few (1-3) employees to supervise/assist the community service workers – people with community service, if they do not volunteer what the court ordered – off to jail they go. Example, singer Chris Brown is clearing brush from roads…there’s no risk of escape because they are already out on bail/probation/fine.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Get Ezzard there and he will sort it out on Rooster Tuesday morning, get rid of the expats then go Independent and everything will be solved.

  7. A wha gwan says:

    Wait? A wha gwan? Do my eyes deceive me?

    Where are all the PPM lackies? I’m surprise they not blaming Alden’s mess on Mac as well.

    So folks, this is how the cookie crumbles. If anyone tries to do something good for the Country (like Mac looking investors), the PPM ‘tards be falling out the wordwork, like a moth to the flame, calling everybody names and blah, blah, blah.

    But,you see, when the lack of productivity of PPM comes to light… they as silent as a ho in church.

    Let, Dart build the schools, they would have been done by now, and my kids wouldn’t be feeling so digusted every day after school, ’cause they all cram up, all day.

    Plus, my boys in the east out of work, now… so let the blame be on ALDEN ya heard!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Alden.

    Another sweet deal that the people of the Cayman Islands can’t afford.

    And to think Education is to be free under the Bill of Right – so these schools will make less money pretty soon.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mac needs the schools. He is telling everyone to come, and bring their children!

      • me says:

        The people he is encouraging to move here will be sending the children to CIS or some other private school — not the ones being built for Caymanians!

    • Jab-Jab says:

      And public school students are paying how much now? You’re politically driven claims would have more weight to the undecided if you backed them up with some dollar amounts.

  9. Anonymous says:

    No problem. After all – Mac has made it clear that he is fine with the idea of qualified Caymanians losing jobs so that an expatriate can keep theirs.