TJI told to quit as suit filed

| 25/11/2009

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Government has issued a written notice to Tom Jones International Ltd of its intention to terminate the construction contracts for the John Gray and Clifton Hunter school projects, over what it states is a substantial breach of those contracts. Meanwhile, one of the main sub-contractors working on both of the sites has also filed a law suit against the general contractor, TJI, for over $2.2 million, plus interest and costs, after invoices remained unpaid in contravention of the terms of the sub-contract, the writ claims.

The government confirmed that an official seven day notice had gone to TJI on Wednesday, 25 November, as it was forced to protect its interests and to mitigate the costs and schedule damages associated with the substantial breaches of the contract by Tom Jones International Ltd. Sources close to the situation told CNS that the termination notice was based on a number of issues, including TJI’s abandonment of the project and its failure to pay sub-contractors.

Attorneys for Caribbean Mechanical Limited, part of the Andro Group owned by Allen Roffey and one of the sub-contractors that says they have not been paid, filed the writ of summons in the Cayman Islands Grand Court on Tuesday, 24 November.

The plaintiff says that TJI has failed to pay the progress payment of $1,081,966.55 for work undertaken in September at the Clifton Hunter site and a sum of $1,161,256.29 for work at the John Gray site, despite the due date being passed and the contractor having received its payment from government.

In the statement of claim, Caribbean Mechanical explains that it entered into two sub-contracts with TJI, one on 1 May and one on 7 May 2008, to carry out mechanical, electrical, plumbing and building services at the John Gray and Clifton Hunter school project sites.

The plaintiff states that, according to the contracts, progress payments are to be made every month following the submission for payment by the sub-contractor and once the architect’s certificates are issued.  The legal document states that, although the September applications for payment were submitted on time, the architect had signed off and that government had paid the general contractor, TJI has not paid Caribbean Mechanical before the due date agreed.

The document also notes that, under the contracts which Caribbean Mechanical has with the general contractor, even if the Cayman Islands Government had not paid TJI, the general contractor would still be liable to pay the sub-contractor.

A spokesperson for TJI said that all matters are being disputed and will be vigorously defended by the general contractor. 

Caribbean Mechanical was forced to lay-off around one hundred workers earlier this month when the ongoing dispute between government and TJI caused the contractor to down tools and stop work at both school development sites for the second time in the last few months. TJI claimed some $15 million in disputed change orders and publically stated it did not believe government could afford to build the schools. The company asked for a significant advanced sum and a form of financial surety or bond before it would return to work. Recent meetings with government have failed to bridge the impasse and government moved to terminate the contractors based on both an abandonment of the project and failure to pay sub-contractors with a seven day notice.    

Since then literally hundreds of workers on the sites have been laid off by the sub-contractors on the sites and by TJI themselves.

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  1. true dat. says:


    The problem is obvious and has been proven time and time again.  The Goverment is not competent enough to do anything successfully.  It is not even competent enough to see this so it will continue to waste the resources of Cayman until there is no more.  And the only reason they continue?

    Lesson:  Do not get into any contract with the Cayman Goverment.  Or else.

  2. Anonymous says:

    But what will hapen to the kitchens?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is only hurting our childrens education and future. NONE of the partys involved seem to care about that.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wonder who did not see this coming! UDP Government no doubt has some fantastic ‘inward investor’ just waiting behind the scenes for this contract to be handed to them! Could probably bet that it is DART but not sure about that yet….Mac probably needs to ‘share’ the contracts around.

    • Anonymous says:

      The only entity capable of taking us out of this mess and building the schools to an acceptable standard for our children at this late date would be the Dart foundation. Say what you want, but they have the finances and expertise to handle such a messed up project.  I don’t think the larger local construction companies would touch that site with a ten foot pole. I say, give the contract to Dart and let’s finish the schools already.

      From day one we knew that TJI had underbid everyone else, and most of us were expecting to see something like this happened.

      What in the world was the previous government thinking about, but then, that is the problem, they were not: i.e., who needs a snow roof in the Cayman Islands anyway?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sounds like a good time to sell the buildings to the good doctor from India. Rid the country of the debt and make alternative plans for the school. It was much to large in the first place. Clear the slate and let the Doc pony up.

  6. Anonymous says:

    LOL what a mess! Hope Dr. Shetty like his new facilities

  7. what a mess says:

    Another huge mess!

    All the "experts" in government continue to get into mess after mess by funnelling huge sums of money to overseas entities for poorly executed contracts…(the Matix contract, the helicoptor contract and now the schools contract…just to name a few recent examples)(and the expert advice to arrest judge henderson for a non-arrestable offence. Millions and millions wasted!…meanwhile all these experts (including politicians) continue to get paid hansomely and even promoted. This is a crying shame.

    We need some real laws with real teeth to ensure real accountability…to cause those responsible for this waste, for incompetence, to pay…in some way…at the very least to cause them to step down from their position/office.

    I said from the beginning…"use/negociate with a Reputable Local Contractor. Now, our youth will once again "pay" for this. Sad!

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with most of what you have said but is TJI really an overseas entity?  Didn’t we hear the former Minister of Education announce on one of the talk shows that there was local ownership in this company?  The Trade and Business Licensing Law requires 60% Caymanian ownership in local companies …. or has that changed?

    • Cicero says:

      As I understand it all the Matrix creditors will be paid by the Government. Why? Did Government offer to pay the creditors of Hurlstone or even Prospect Properties the brainchild of the first National hero? No.

      In paying Matrix creditors the Government has set a dangerous precedent. And the next?  Obviously the schools; so My Rofey why waste your money with the lawyers? Just ask Big Mac for a cheque. One wonders why the Government is broke. Well why not get a finance politician to be Minister of Finance. At least he understands $$$$

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is it obvious yet to anyone of you what has really happened here…

  9. Suit Sale says:

    How many parties have sued other parties this year?  In some form of astrology this must be the Year of the Lawsuit.  This one revolves around breach of contract including the change orders for the schools.  With two conflicting scenarios.  One scenario from TJI states the previous government couldn’t afford them, and they were a bad idea.  Yet a contract was entered into.  A line of credit for ten million dollars was then obtained by TJI, with the previous government that couldn’t afford them acting as assurer.  At least the bank thought that the government was financially stable.  I’m glad they didn’t listen to TJI.    Followed then by an election. 

    In which the government that couldn’t afford them lost to a government which is attempting to afford them.  Except that, TJI has submitted a bill for seventeen million dollars over and above contract costs relating to change orders.  Which they say the government requested.  However, the government says most were contractor derived and the costs were inflated. 

    The result of this dispute has been that TJI, a hundred year old company, has requested advance payment from Cayman, which has been around for several thousand years.  And thatthe government post a bond.  Refusing to do so, TJI stopped work, and people have been laid off, and subcontractors have not been paid.  Now TJI, although it has been paid up to date, is being sued not only by the government, but by a subcontractor.  I hope I have this story straight.

    Because it sounds like Alice in Wonderland.  Since when…does a contractor on a government project…make that two government projects…insist that the government post a bond????  Likewise, since when does a contractor… go public and say… what a bad idea the projects are???  After signing a contract?  Unless they are delusional.  Or have several aces up their sleeve. 

    What could those aces be? 

    At this point in time, if TJI refuses to complete the work, and the dispute goes to court, and they are found in breach of contract, the next step will have them forfeit the bonds which they should have been required to obtain by the previous government. 

    Or.. were they???

    Because the simple matter is if they themselves were not required to post a bond as they are now requesting government to do.  They have nothing to lose by the work stoppage.

    The workers, and subcontractors have everything to lose.  And the government has learned a valuable lesson:  It isn’t always beneficial to go with the lowest bid.  Or to hire a big multi-national company.  Over those that have vested interests in the country.  Others are more interested in poker, and each time government has let a contract to a foreign company it has been a disaster.



    • nonsense says:

      "has requested advance payment from Cayman, which has been around for several thousand years."

      Several Thousand Years — you seemed to have inflated the timescale, slightly!

      Not sure why TJI would need a bond since the CIG is the one that says they are out of money.

    • from one who knows says:

      if gov’t had a  adeaquate performance bond , this would be a non issue…. they would have puled the bond and new contractor would have been paid by the surety to complete the job………………..

      too, cig would have had to notify the surety of the problems as they arose to enforce it…….

      shame on you former ministry for your oversights on such basic contract language,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  10. Peter Milburn says:

    Here we go again.First it was the metal from the garbage dump now this wonderful mess with the new schools.When will we learn?And TJI has a Cayman partner?Wonderful!!!!Only the kids will suffer from all this in the long run.When will all this BS stop?!!!!!!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    when was the last time CIG won any court case? their incomptence has been proven over and over in the courts…. tji must be rubbing their hands….