Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools 2008) Limited, a major subcontractor on the two new government high school projects, has filed a civil action against Tom Jones International claiming CI$2.24 million for amounts due on work completed.
Tom Jones International, the general contractor on the Clifton Hunter and John Gray High School projects, walked off both job sites on 13 November because of a dispute with the government.
The Statement of Claim, which was filed Tuesday, seeks CI$1.08 million with respect to Clifton Hunter High School and CI$1.16 million with respect to John Gray High School.
According to the Statement of Claim, Caribbean Mechanical made application for progress payments due on the Clifton Hunter project in accordance with its contract with Tom Jones on 21 and 26 September. The project architect certified the amount due in late September or early October.
The plaintiff states that the Cayman Islands Government paid Tom Jones the amount due to Caribbean Mechanical that had been certified by the architect.
‘Accordingly… the defendant became liable to pay the plaintiff the sum of CI$1,081,966.55 on or before the 14th November 2009…’ the claim asserts. ‘Wrongfully, and in breach of Article 11.3 of Subcontract 1, the defendant has failed to pay the Clifton Hunter September Progress Payment or any part thereof.’
With regard to John Gray, the architect certified the September progress payment due on 9 October. The claim asserts government paid the certified amount on 12 November and Tom Jones was liable to pay the amount due by 23 November.
The claim states that none of the CI$1,161,256.29 has been paid by Tom Jones to Caribbean Mechanical.
The Statement of Claim also offers an alternative basis of claim in the event that the government has not paid Tom Jones International the amounts certified for the September progress payments.
‘The plaintiff is entitled to be paid progress payments… as the cause of any non-payment of [Tom Jones International] by [Cayman Islands Government] is not the fault of the plaintiff.’
Double hit on Caribbean Mechanical
Caribbean Mechanical Chief Executive Alan Roffey said his company has been hurt doubly by the non-payment of amounts due on the schools and by the shut down of the projects.
‘We haven’t been paid for amounts due from September, for amounts due in October and for amounts due for half of November,’ he said. ‘Now we also have all the costs of laying people off and demobilising the site, which can be substantial.’
Mr. Roffey has said that about 80 per cent of his employees had been engaged in the two schools projects and that he’s had to lay off 88 people. About half of those laid off were Caymanian.
‘Many of the expats have made plans to leave the Island,’ he said. ‘We’ve been told by the Ministry [of Education] that they wanted to get the job restarted immediately, so we don’t want to see people leave.’
In addition to the other problems, Mr. Roffey said about a half-million dollars of specially ordered air handling equipment – which was already being shipped when the job sites shut down – has arrived on the island.
‘What does the government intend to do with that?’ he asked. ‘I haven’t been paid one cent for this equipment.’