School project work stoppage

Editor’s note: the following is a statement from the Minister of Education on the high Grand Cayman high school construction projects:

‘Yesterday (Wednesday), representatives from Tom Jones International Ltd. (TJI) advised that they intend to stop working tomorrow (13 November) at both the John Gray and Clifton Hunter campuses, based on their belief that the Cayman Islands Government has insufficient funding to complete the projects.

‘As outlined in the 2009/10 budget, government has all the necessary funding to meet our obligations for these projects. We have also budgeted contingency funds, in the event that these are necessary to cover any claims made by TJI.

‘Sufficient provision has therefore been made for the completion of the projects, and this ongoing commitment has been communicated to TJI.

‘Further, all certified payments due to TJI have been made, and there are currently no outstanding amounts due.

‘Notwithstanding that all the payments have been made, the government has also been negotiating in good faith with TJI to provide significant additional funding to assist both TJI and its main sub-contractor in making advance payments.

‘As recently as Tuesday (10 November), the government had been advised by TJI that the documentation to support this additional funding was agreed in principle. The government was therefore finalising this agreement and had every expectation that this would signal a productive way forward and ensure that the projects would be successfully completed.

‘We are therefore surprised by TJI’s change in position and its apparent intention to now stop work. I reiterate however that the Cayman Islands Government is committed to the completion of the schools projects. We are currently considering all our options, in our determination to move forward, and if necessary will pursue all remedies available.’

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