Tom Jones sues Government

Tom Jones International, the general contractor for the projects to build two new high schools on Grand Cayman, issued legal proceedings against the Cayman Islands Government in Grand Court yesterday.

The Writ of Summons was filed against the attorney general of the Cayman Islands as the representative of the Cayman Islands Government (the Ministry of Education, Training and Employment).

The Statement of Claim asserts that on 20 October, 2009, an amount of CI$833,575.89 was certified by the quantity surveyor and architect to be due for works on the Clifton Hunter High School. The Statement of Claim also asserts that on the same day an amount of CI$2,114,242.65 was certified by the quantity surveyor and the architect to be due for works on the John Gray High School.

Pursuant to the contractual agreements, the Ministry of Education was required to pay both of the sums due on or before 19 November, according to the Statement of Claim.

‘In breach of its obligations, the defendant has refused or otherwise failed to do so,’ the Statement of Claim asserts.

Tom Jones is seeking immediate payment of the two sums due, totalling CI$2,947,818.54, plus interest and costs.

The lawsuit represents the latest action involving the troubled projects, which are valued at more than CI$120 million. Tom Jones walked off the John Gray project jobsite in late September, but returned to work shortly thereafter.

The general contractor walked off both job sites on 13 November, partially because it said the government had failed to provide the contractually-required assurance, in the form of a trust or payment bond, that it had the financial capability to meet its payment obligations with respect to the work on the two schools.

That allegation, however, is not included in the Statement of Claim filed yesterday.

Tom Jones, through its spokesperson David Legge, then issued a lengthy press statement on 17 November critical of both the current and previous government administrations and explaining why it walked off the jobs.

On 24 November, Caribbean Mechanical (High Schools 2008) Ltd., the largest subcontractor on both of the projects, filed a lawsuit against Tom Jones International claiming CI$2.24 million that it was owed by the general contractor for works it had completed through dates in September.

Tom Jones has since issued a statement saying it ‘would have been happy to look after [Caribbean Mechanical’s] accounts, if government had looked after their accounts properly with us.’

The following day, the Ministry of Education issued one-week notices to terminate its contracts with Tom Jones. The termination of those contracts is scheduled to take effect today at 4pm.

An announcement as to the plans the Ministry of Education has to finish the two schools is expected after the termination of Tom Jones takes effect.