Government giving school jobs to local contractors

| 08/12/2010

(CNS): With as many as 60 tenders planned to be released over the coming months, the Ministry of Education held a meeting with local contractors recently to talk about the work that will be available at the two new high school construction sites. According to government officials, the goal of the meeting was to explain the tenders and allow local firms to bid on the jobs, which the minister said would create a number of opportunities for them. The work ranges from concrete and plumbing to electrical and interior design, which government itself will be directly tendering. In the Legislative Assembly recently, Education Minister Rolston Anglin said that once the work restarted on the sites, it would create much needed local employment.

Despite continued promises that the major work would “soon start”, the two school sites have been almost idle for well over a year since the original general contractor, Tom Jones International, walked off the job over a pay dispute. Although Caribbean Mechanical continued to do limited work to maintain the sites, the government’s contract with that firm recently ended abruptly, with the two parties remaining tight lipped on the reason why the longest running sub-contractor had been terminated.

A consortium of local firms, made up of McAlpine, DECCO Ltd and Arch & Godfrey, was awarded the school construction management contract in early September but since then very little work has taken place at the sites. However, the ministry continues to state that work is due to commence in force.

As a result of the way government is moving forward on the schools with no new general contractor, all of the work will be done on contracts directly between local firms and government, which will be overseen by the construction manager.

At the meeting the minister told the more than 50 sub-contractors present that while local firms would now be able to bid for all of the work, it would not be handed to them on a plate but they would have to compete properly via the bidding process.

“If this initiative is to have the desired impact, it’s important to establish a level playing field, which will allow all contractors an opportunity to bid on the various tender packages,” he said. “This is especially important at a time when the local construction industry has been hard hit by the recession.”

He added that everyone would have a chance to participate. “This approach favours both contractor and ministry interests … and at the end of the day the best ‘man’ will win.”

Eligibility criteria, which contractors must meet before applying for any of the remaining tenders, include current health insurance and pension plans for their staff, as well as current public liability and workman’s compensation insurance.

Speaking from the floor of the Legislative Assembly last month, Anglin said that Clifton Hunter High School in Frank Sound had to be completed in time for the 2010/11 academic year, while the John Gray High School in George Town was going to take longer.

As the project takes a step closer to getting back on track, the government still faces what could be a long and costly courtroom battle with the former general contractor TJI and a dispute concerning outstanding payment claims of around $3 million. TJI and government are also in dispute over claimed change orders totalling as much as $15million.

The tender announcements for the various work that is now available directly to local firms will be advertised, officials said, via the local print media, with more than 20 scheduled for publication by 30 December and another 38 between 6 January and 30 April 2011. The requests for proposals will also be on the Central Planning Committee’s website. 

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  1. Anonymous says:

    When will I read:: "Gov’t gives jobs to Caymanians??"

  2. Anonymouse says:

    I trust that those local contractors who do get work here will be reputable ones and not those hurry come up Hurricane Ivan ones whose only interest was to fleece everyone who gave them work.

  3. Anonymous says:

    makes all the hard work and excellent leadership of dedicated Civil Servants, Caymanian and Ex-Pat alike who are managing the on time under budget new GovernmentAdministration Building look even better!  We are the shining example and should be applauded and followed…

  4. Anonymous says:

    government’s recent record in tendering/negotiating project works has been abysmal over the last 18 months..

    gt port….stalled…




    nothing is getting done! we need to direct rule for 2 years asap!

  5. Anonymous says:

    well there goes the budget out the window…… this will be a financial and logistical nightmare….

  6. Anonymous says:

    Is it true that the building have sat unfinished for so long that some of building have been deemed as unfit to continue building, did not pass building inspection (due to wood rot etc)  and have been ordered to be knocked down and rebuilt ? 

  7. Yes Please! says:

    Well, this is great news!

    It has been a pretty tough time recently for our business and we would like to put ourselves forward for a long and fruitless contract where we will constantly have to battle and chase the government to get paid for the work we have completed.

    where do we sign up??

  8. Anonymous says:

    recipe for disaster…… what a shambles……

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sure the job will get done though and at a cheaper price too!