Anglin rejects TJI legal claim

| 03/12/2009

(CNS): The minister for education has said that government will fight the law suit filed by Tom Jones International (TJI) as, he stated, it does not owe the payments regarding the contract on the two high school contracts as claimed. TJI has filed a writ in the Cayman Islands Grand Court claiming close to $3million, which the general contractor says was due before the 19 November and represents work certified by the quantity surveyor and architect at both the John Gray and Clifton Hunter sites. Rolston Anglin, however, said the claim was outside of the contract obligations.

Speaking in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, the minister said the claim related to an extraordinary payment. “The government’s position is that these demands are not due or payable and the writ will be defended vigorously,”  Anglin told his fellow legislators.

He also reiterated the government view that TJI had wrongfully abandoned the projects in breach of contract when the general contractor walked off the two job sites at the beginning of last month. Anglin said the notice of termination given to TJI last week came into effect at 4:00pm Wednesday, 2 December, and plans were now being worked out on how government would finish the schools. “The termination of TJI was necessary, valid and absolutely justified. It remains CIG’s position that all certified payments have been made,” he added.

The TJI writ claims that the contractor is owed $2,947,818.54, which represents work on the Clifton Hunter site (certificate 17a for $833,575.89) and for work on the John Gray Site (certificate 15a for $2,114,242.65), both of which were certified, the contractor says, on 20 October in accordance with the terms of the contract by the official quantity surveyor. TJI says that therefore it is seeking the total sum as well as costs and interest payments calculated from 19 November.

Stating that government does not believe the claim is within the terms of the contract, the minister said the main focus was for the government to ensure that the key educational goals for students would be met. “Plans are being developed in consultation with experts, to complete the school projects in as cost effective and timely manner as possible,” the minster said. “In so doing the government will be seeking to mitigate any losses caused by the breach of contract.”

Anglin did not elaborate on what those plans were likely to be but said the public would be informed as soon as the government was in a position to detail them. He did not say whether government would take on the project via public works, directly employing sub-contractors, or if it would bring in another general contractor.

The dispute between government and TJI began under the previous administration and escalated recently to an impasse when TJI said it did not believe the government had the cash to finish the two high school project and demanded payment up front as well as some form of bond or surety. TJI and government are also at odds regarding change orders and overruns, which the contractor claims are in excess of $15 million more than 10% of the entire cost of the two schools a figure broadly disputed by government.

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  1. Cicero says:

    I seem to recall that the Government got sued by the liquidator of Hurlstone Contruction a few years ago when the hospital contract was cancelled.That was small stuff compared with this one. Lets get realistic its going to cost us a bundle. Yet another Government mess. When will it stop.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I suspect that the government may have their hands full in alegal battle with Tom Jones. Now I have no idea who was right or wrong in this matter but TJI has much more experience in the fine art of contract law I suspect and will be skilled in legal matters regarding same.