MRCU project remains idle

Despite
affirmations from the construction company Hadsphaltic International that it
would return to work last week on the Mosquito Research and Control Unit
airplane hanger facility, the job remains shut down.

A
security guard has now been placed at the site. 
Public Works project manager Niasha Ross said the security guard was
there to “protect government’s interests”. However, Ms Ross stressed that
Hadsphaltic had not been barred from the job site.

“We
have not restricted them from returning to the job,” she said. “They have full
access to the site; it’s still open for them to return to work.”

Ms
Ross said that in the most recent communication she had with Hadsphaltic, the
company indicated it was hopeful to return to the job.

Hadsphaltic
is a subsidiary of Johnston International Ltd., which is based in Turks and
Caicos.  The Turks & Caicos Weekly
News reported last week that the company had been locked out of its offices in
that country.

Group
CEO Allan Forrest told the Caymanian Compass last week that the company was undergoing
minor restructuring that would involve new ownership investment.

Mr.
Forrest said he anticipated the company being “back on track” by the end of
last week, but that apparently didn’t happen. Efforts to contact Mr. Forrest
for an update on the situation were unsuccessful.

MRCU
Director William Petrie was told last Tuesday afternoon by Hadsphaltic
representatives that work would recommence the early part of last week. That
didn’t happen either.

MEPCO
LTd., a large subcontractor on the project, has been prevented from working on
the project. MEPCO Mechanical Manager Ian Morrison didn’t know when the company
might return to work on the job.

“We
have been in contact daily with the Public Works Department and Hadsphaltic and
as yet have not been notified on resumption of the project,” he said.

Johnston
International has operations in the Cayman Islands, the Bahamas, Barbados,
Belize, Trinidad and Tobago and other Caribbean Islands.

Although
its operations have ground to a halt in at least Turks and Caicos and Cayman,
the company is still operating in Belize, according to a report from 7 News
Belize on Tuesday. The news items quoted Johnston’s manager in Belize, John
Dorè, saying the company there was “carrying on as normal at the present time”.
Mr. Dorè confirmed, however, that the doors to the Turks and Caicos office were
closed and the company was undergoing restructuring. He also said the future of
the company would only be known after the restructuring exercise.

The
hanger facility includes a 12,403-square-foot hanger building that will also
have offices and a workshop. A separate 2,787-square-foot pesticide storage
building is also part of the facility. Mr. Petrie estimated last week that
project was about half-way completed. The MRCU’s previous hanger was heavily
damaged by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and eventually demolished in
December 2008.

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